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Microsoft wants to undo the harm it has done the planet

Microsoft reckons it can recapture all of the carbon it has ever released into the atmosphere by 2050, in perhaps the boldest climate pledge ever made by a tech firm.

The PC giant believes it can become carbon negative by 2030, which effectively means it will have a net positive effect on the environment. That, and the subsequent goal, will require the company go out of its way to draw down carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

To assist with the goal Microsoft is creating a $1 billion Climate Innovation Fund, which it plans to spend over the next four years. That money will be invested in innovation in decarbonisation.

During a specially-convened event on Thursday (via VentureBeat), Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said: “The scientific consensus is clear, the world today is confronted with an urgent carbon crisis.

“If we don’t cut emissions and temperatures continue to climb, science tells us the results will be devastating. Each of us is going to need to take action. And that includes businesses. No one company can solve this macro challenge alone, but as a global technology company we have a particular responsibility to do our part. That’s why today, we’re announcing an ambitious new plan to help address the sustainability of our planet. Today we’re making the commitment that by 2030, Microsoft will be carbon negative.”

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Microsoft’s bold commitment throws down the gauntlet to the other major tech companies, including the likes of Apple, Google and Samsung. We’d mention Amazon in the same breath, but Jeff Bezos is still shipping SD cards in boxes that could house the majority of his fortune in gold bullion, while playing spaceman.

Microsoft has been carbon neutral since 2012, but committing to nullifying its historical impact could be a target other tech giants might be forced to follow. Whether it’s achievable might be somewhat irrelevant if others heed the example.

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