Google, Alphabet CEO Debuts Ambitious '24/7 Carbon-Free Energy by 2030' Campaign

Google aims to fight the dark tides of the climate crisis with 5 GW of carbon-free energy in 2030.
Brad Bergan

Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai wrote a blog post on Google's website, where he urges immediate and collective action to combat the growing toll of the climate crisis.

He also debuted Google's plan to go "24/7 carbon-free energy by 2030," including 5 GW of renewable energy, estimating 20,000 new carbon-free jobs before 2025 is out, in a YouTube video.


Google, Alphabet CEO urges action on climate crisis

Pichai reflects on the unique experience in watching his hometown — Chennai, India — covered in floodwaters, noting how the growing toll of climate change feels closer to home for him.

The haunting, orange skies in Northern California stemming from Northern California wildfires — along with similar incidents in Australia and Brazil — are not likely to be the last hellish scenes of devastation as the climate crisis continues.

"The science is clear: The world must act now if we're going to avert the worst consequences of climate change," wrote Pichai.

In his blog post, Pichai took note of Google's third decade of climate action and outlined new steps the firm is taking to combat the climate crisis.

Google to 'eliminate carbon legacy'

Google is eliminating its entire carbon legacy, effective immediately, Pichai started. "As of today, we have eliminated Google's entire carbon legacy (covering all our operational emissions before we became carbon neutral in 2007) through the purchase of high-quality carbon offsets," he wrote.

The tech superpower is the first major company to commit to operating "on 24/7 carbon-free energy in all our data centers and campuses worldwide," he said. "This means that Google's lifetime net carbon footprint is now zero."

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This is a much more substantial step than the typical approach of other companies pledging to match energy usage with renewable energy, and Google is taking steps to reach a carbon-free level by 2030.

Google going 'carbon-free energy 24/7' by 2030

When 2030 comes, Google aims to run every segment of its business completely carbon-free, at all times, wrote the chief executive.

"This is our biggest sustainability moonshot yet, with enormous practical and technical complexity. We are the first major company that's set out to do this, and we aim to be the first to achieve it," he said.

This process will begin at data centers and campuses worldwide — which power the services and products most if not all of us use daily. "This means every email you send through Gmail, every question you ask Google Search, every YouTube video you watch, and every route you take using Google Maps, [will be] supplied by clean energy every hour of every day."

Carbon-free investments of 5 GW to slow climate crisis

Another 2030 goal for Google is to have 5 GW of carbon-free energy through key manufacturing regions, via investments.

"We expect this to spur more than $5 billion in clean energy investments, avoid the amount of emissions equal to taking more than 1 million cars off the road each year, and create more than 8,000 clean energy jobs," Pichai wrote.

In this way, Google aims to invest in technologies capable of helping partners and the global community make more sustainable consumer choices. Pichai said this policy aims at "helping 500 cities reduce their carbon emissions and finding new ways to empower 1 billion people through our products."

Cutting 1 gigaton of carbon emissions annually, 20,000 new jobs

Cities generate 70% of the planet's carbon emissions — and Google's Environmental Insights Explorer allows more than 100 cities to map and reduce carbon emissions stemming from building and transportation — maximizing the use of renewable energy.

As of today, Google is expanding the interactive tool to 3,000 cities, globally.

Of great note, Google estimates present-day commitments will generate more than 20,000 new jobs in clean energy and related industries — globally — by 2025.

As the world's tech superpowers come to terms with the heavy environmental cost of running multiple global industries on traditional energy models, it seems Google aims to lead the world in pursuing a carbon-free industry on the largest possible scale, in one short decade.