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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Microsoft’s AI obsession is jeopardizing its local weather ambitions

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Microsoft’s producing much more planet-heating air pollution now than it did when it made a daring local weather pledge again in 2020. Its greenhouse fuel emissions had been really round 30 % increased in fiscal yr 2023, exhibiting how exhausting it might be for the corporate to satisfy local weather targets because it concurrently races to be a pacesetter in AI.

“In some ways the moon is 5 instances as distant because it was in 2020”

Again in 2020, Microsoft set a target of changing into carbon damaging by the top of the last decade. To translate the jargon, it pledged to slash greenhouse fuel emissions by greater than half after which seize a better quantity of carbon dioxide emissions than it will produce. It was an audacious dedication to make on the time, contemplating carbon capture technologies had been barely coming into existence. The corporate would additionally should spur the deployment of way more renewable energy onto energy grids the place it operates.

“In 2020, we unveiled what we referred to as our carbon moonshot. That was earlier than the explosion in synthetic intelligence,” Microsoft president Brad Smith stated in an interview with Bloomberg. “So in some ways the moon is 5 instances as distant because it was in 2020, if you happen to simply consider our personal forecast for the enlargement of AI and its electrical wants.”

Diving into the info in Microsoft’s sustainability report, you may see simply how far it’s gone within the unsuitable course. It pumped out 15.357 million metric tons of carbon dioxide during the last fiscal yr, corresponding to the annual carbon air pollution of Haiti or Brunei.

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Knowledge facilities used to coach AI are even more energy-intensive than traditional data centers that already gobble up quite a lot of electrical energy to run servers and cooling techniques to forestall overheating. And Microsoft has plans to construct an entire lot extra of these information facilities now that it’s all in on AI. The corporate deliberate to spend $50 billion over the previous fiscal yr as a way to meet its AI ambitions — a determine it’s anticipated to surpass within the following yr, Bloomberg reports.

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