Google: New report reveals tech companies' investments have a huge climate impact

May 24, 2022 | Posted by MadalineDunn

Over the last few years, tech giants have made big claims regarding carbon emissions and their sustainability efforts, yet, despite many of them claiming to be carbon neutral, a new report has found that their investments' carbon footprint is, in fact, greater than all the emissions created by their other activities.

The report, 'The Carbon Bankroll: The Climate Impact and Untapped Power of Corporate Cash,' by ​​Climate Safe Lending Network (CSLN), The Outdoor Policy Outfit (TOPO), and BankFWD, outlined that the companies it highlighted in the report are all "environmental leaders" that have been working for years to "combat climate change and decarbonize their supply chains." However, Paul Moinester, executive director of The Outdoor Policy Outfit (TOPO), one of the creators of the report said it reveals that these companies' "substantial climate accomplishments" are being "severely undermined by a misaligned financial system that is channeling hundreds of billions of corporate US dollars into the carbon-intensive sectors driving the climate crisis."

Specifically, it was found that cash holdings are the largest source of emissions for companies like Google, Meta, Microsoft and Salesforce, hiking total emissions by between 91% to 112%. Moreover, the report outlined that although Google generates 10 million tons of carbon equivalent emissions per year, the $136 billion it has in the bank doubles this. Similarly, in 2021, Microsoft's $130 billion in cash and investments in the bank were comparable to the cumulative emissions generated by the "manufacturing, transporting, and use of every Microsoft product in the world." Amazon was also highlighted for the emissions generated by its $81 billion in 2020, which amounted to more than all the energy used by each Amazon facility globally.

Speaking about the importance of highlighting this massively overlooked source of emissions, US environmentalist Bill McKibben, commented: "It is impossible to overstate just how important this analysis is: this team is uncovering the largest remaining source of huge and hidden carbon emissions in our economy. It's the equivalent of the moment when physical scientists figured out the last big new source of carbon—the melting tundra."

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