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Google is committed to no longer emitting a single gram of carbon within ten years. Other Internet giants have preceded him. Are these companies today at the forefront of the ecological transition?
They go much faster than what is recommended by the American administration. These mastodons first of all have enormous financial means to lead this transition. They are also very young companies, constantly in touch with the evolution of their environment. On his blog, Google boss Sundar Pichai detailed his goal by making a link with the fires attributed to global warming that are currently devouring California, where the company’s headquarters are located. This promise is therefore obviously very timely in terms of communication but it is not a simple announcement effect, it is a new step in an already old process. Since 2007, all of Google’s emissions have been offset, and he believes that with the green investments already made, the carbon footprint of the company created in 1998 has been fully offset. In addition, Google, as a private company, is the world’s largest consumer of renewable energy.
How will Google go about achieving its goal of zero emissions by 2030?
The champion of online research wants to generalize the use of batteries to conserve electricity. It will also develop energy efficiency thanks to artificial intelligence. And of course feed its data centers with solar or wind power. And also a little nuclear. It is the only concession to conventional energies.
It is, among other things, under pressure from their employees that the GAFA accelerated their decarbonization. In January, Microsoft was the first to commit to 2030, but it also had concrete projects underway to reduce its emissions. With for example, a data center submarine. After two years of activity submerged off the coast of Scotland, the prototype came to the surface a few weeks ago and the first results are very conclusive. It works even better than land-based models, thanks to wind power and seawater that cools computers.
Facebook, which has a carbon footprint four times smaller than that of Google, hopes to achieve neutrality as early as this year and is committed to extending this target to all of its suppliers and customers by 2030.
Amazon is giving itself ten more years to completely eliminate its greenhouse gas emissions.
The task is complex since it has to decarbonise its entire delivery fleet. 100,000 electric vehicles have been ordered but they will not be deployed by 2030. For Apple, which is also an industrialist, the process is even more difficult. Building an iPhone that doesn’t emit carbon means you also have to convert all the subcontractors. For the moment, 70 out of 200 have agreed to share this goal of carbon neutrality in 2030. Sometimes with the active support of giving them orders. Apple has partnered with ten of its Chinese suppliers to finance wind turbines: they will be in service within two years.
The GAFAs, much criticized for the monopoly they de facto exercise over their activity, are using this leverage position to move their ecosystem. This is the positive aspect of their ecological conversion. But they do not lose their purpose: to sell more and more products to maintain their supremacy.
► In short
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