Feb 16, 2021 - Energy & Environment

IBM pledges net-zero emissions by 2030

IBM.
Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

IBM is pledging to eliminate its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, becoming the latest tech giant to unveil a target that will require tangible near-term steps to succeed.

Why it matters: The tech industry has a big energy footprint thanks to power-hungry data centers and other operations.

Driving the news: IBM's announcement included an interim pledge to cut emissions by 65% by 2025 (compared to 2010 levels). They said...

  • IBM will procure 75% of its power worldwide from renewables by 2025, reaching 90% in 2030.
  • This would apply to their direct energy consumption, rather than relying on purchase of renewable energy certificates.
  • Improving efficiency will help IBM meet the target.

The intrigue: The company acknowledged that "residual" emissions will remain after those steps to green their operations.

  • So part of IBM's pledge is to use tech like CO2 capture to "remove emissions in an amount which equals or exceeds the level of IBM's residual emissions."

The big picture: The move comes roughly a year after Microsoft vowed to be "carbon negative" by 2030, while Amazon — whose carbon footprint includes its massive delivery system — had pledged to be net-zero by 2040.

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