Google goes big on green pledge

renewable energy
Google announces one of the biggest green pledges in the telecommunications industry on Monday. (Getty Images)

Google announced one of the most ambitious environmental pledges across the telecoms industry by stating its goal to only use carbon-free sources by 2030.

Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in a Monday blog post that Google was working to become the first major company to make a commitment to operate on 24/7 carbon-free energy in all of its data centers and campuses worldwide.

Pichai also said that as of Monday, Google has purchased enough carbon offsets to essentially cancel out all of the planet-warming carbon dioxide that the company has released since it was founded in 1998. Google has been carbon neutral every year since 20017 through the purchase of carbon offsets, which means it offsets the emissions it generates from fossil fuels by investing in renewable energy projects that pull carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.

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"This means that Google's lifetime net carbon footprint is now zero," he said. "We’re pleased to be the first major company to get this done, today.

"We estimate that the commitments we’re making today will directly generate more than 20,000 new jobs in clean energy and associated industries, in America and around the world, by 2025."

Pichai mentioned the fires in Google's home state of California, as well as fires in Australia and Brazil, that have caused the sky to turn orange from the smoke.

"The science is clear: The world must act now if we’re going to avert the worst consequences of climate change," Pachai said in his blog.

“We have until 2030 to chart a sustainable cause for our planet or face the worst consequences of climate change,” Pichai said in a video on Monday. “We are already feeling those impacts today from historicism wildfires in the U.S .to devastating flooding in many parts of the world.”

Google's new goals also include bringing 5 gigawatts of renewable energy to key manufacturing regions through investments, and funding tree planting beyond its offset needs.

"We’re also committing to help more than 500 cities and local governments globally reduce a total of 1 gigaton of carbon emissions annually by 2030—that’s the equivalent of the annual carbon emissions of a country the size of Japan," Pichai said.

Service providers, vendors and cloud providers have ramped up their renewable energy and green initiatives over the past few years.

Google's main rivals, Amazon and Microsoft, have also targeted removing more carbon from the atmosphere than they emit over the coming decades, but none of them have publicly committed to stop sourcing carbon-based energy.

In June, Telefónica said it planned to reach its target of zero emissions across four main markets by 2030 instead of 2050. On Earth Day last year, Verizon announced that it would go carbon neutral by 2035 in terms of all sources of emissions owned or controlled by Verizon and all sources of emissions purchased by Verizon.

Scientists have said global warming could become catastrophic by 2030 if it goes unchecked.

RELATED: Verizon, other companies, sign up for Amazon and Global Optimism's 'Climate Pledge'

In June, Verizon, Infosys and Reckitt Benckiser became the first global companies to sign up for Amazon's Climate Pledge that was first announced in September.

Amazon and Global Optimism co-founded The Climate Pledge to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change 10 years ahead of schedule. The Paris Agreement has targeted 2050 while the Climate Pledge has set a goal of being carbon neutral by 2040.

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