Google targets zero-emission global operation by 2030

14 Sep 2020

Image: © William/

After purchasing carbon offsets to wipe out its historical emissions debt, Google is now aiming to emit zero emissions by 2030.

Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai has published a blog post announcing the search giant’s list of environmental targets to reach by the end of the decade and beyond. This includes the announcement that, from today (14 September), Google’s lifetime net carbon footprint will now be set to zero after purchasing carbon offsets covering all its operations prior to becoming carbon neutral in 2007.

By 2030, Pichai said, the company is aiming to have all of its data centres and campuses powered by renewable electricity by pairing wind and solar power sources together, increasing its use of battery storage technology and using AI to optimise electricity demands and forecasting.

Google has also promised to spend more than $5bn in renewable energy investments with an output of 5GW and reduce carbon emissions in 500 cities by one gigaton annually by 2030. According to Pichai, this commitment will create more than 20,000 new jobs in clean energy and associated industries globally by 2025.

‘A new high bar for the sector’

“Not long ago, it was hard to imagine a 24/7 carbon-free electricity supply – at a simple level, the wind doesn’t always blow, and the sun doesn’t shine at night,” Pichai said. “But thanks to trends in technology and with the right government policies, the promise of 24/7 clean energy will soon be within reach. We think our work can accelerate the availability of clean energy in communities worldwide and help to solve challenges that have held back its ability to become an around-the-clock source of energy.”

Google’s announcement was welcomed by Greenpeace, whose senior corporate campaigner, Elizabeth Jardim, said the company was “setting a new high bar for the sector”.

“Tech companies were some of the first to set renewable energy goals, and even still, their energy-hungry data centres continued to use huge amounts of fossil fuels, prolonging our collective reliance on dirty energy any time we use the internet,” she said.

“By becoming the first major tech company to commit to power its data centres with carbon-free energy around the clock, Google is setting a new high-bar for the sector: a break-up with fossil fuels altogether.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic