Current Climate: Big Tech’s Massive Carbon Footprint

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This week’s Current Climate, which every Saturday brings you the latest news about the business of sustainability. Sign up to get it in your inbox every week.

When you think about sources of carbon emissions, your mind likely goes to things like power generation, cars, heavy industry and similar types of things. But Big Tech companies are also major contributors to emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere as well. To try and figure out how much, Electronics Hub pored through the corporate environmental reports of 100 of the biggest tech companies in the world, then ranked them from highest to lowest.

Some of the things they found: Samsung produces more carbon dioxide than any other tech company, and of the “Big Five” tech companies (Apple, Amazon, Alphabet, Meta and Microsoft), Amazon is the largest polluter. Amazon produced over 16 million metric tons of CO2 in 2021–nearly 20 times the carbon footprint of Microsoft, which polluted least out of the 5. That said, Microsoft’s carbon footprint is still pretty big–at nearly 870,000 metric tons, it’s about as big a polluter as the population of Rhode Island.

You can read the full report here.


The Big Read

With Labor And Climate Challenges, Farmers Turn To Robot Beehives, Tractors And Fruit Pickers

Startups are aiming to solve big problems for agriculture, including labor and water shortages, climate-driven headaches and declining bee populations, by deploying artificial intelligence, autonomous driving technology and robotics.

Read more here.


Discoveries And Innovations

Nearly half of California emerged out of drought conditions, according to a new drought monitor map released Thursday morning, though the state is not quite in the clear when it comes to water management yet.

In a recent study, a group of Swedish researchers found that children and adolescents in Stockholm showed improved lung capacity since the early 2000s, when air pollution levels in that city began to decline.


Sustainability Deals Of The Week

Green Buildings: Climate tech startup BlocPower announced it has raised $150 million in equity and debt financing this week. The capital is aimed towards expanding its programs geared towards electrifying buildings and installing heat pumps.

Carton-Based Cleaning: Cleancult, which develops cleaning products that use recyclable packaging rather than single-use plastics, announced that it has entered a deal with Walmart for its products to be available in over 3,000 of the retail giant’s stores.


On The Horizon

In the U.S. and thinking about moving to a new state? One thing you might consider is how climate change might affect that region in the future before you make a move. That’s where a new website and app, developed in partnership by AT&T, FEMA and Argonne National Lab comes in. The website crunches data to determine risk factors for different parts of the company.


What Else We’re Reading This Week

Why it’s time to officially get over your EV range anxiety (Ars Technica)

Heat Pumps Sell Like Hotcakes on America’s Oil-Rich Frontier (Wired)

Japan’s Top Steelmaker Eyes $700 Million ‘Green Steel’ Project (Bloomberg)



Green Transportation Update

Elon Musk has built up the Tesla brand and his image over the past 17 years as a would- be climate hero committed to solving the carbon pollution crisis with audacious plans. He deserves much credit for kickstarting the modern EV market, though his record is mixed when it comes to delivering every aspect of the “Master Plans” he’s promoted since 2006. This week he rolled out “Master Plan 3” at the company’s investor day with no shortage of big ideas for how Tesla can dominate the cleantech space. Investors really hoped he’d share details about new products—especially an expected low-cost electric vehicle. That didn’t happen.


The Big Transportation Story

EU’s Plan To End Sales Of Combustion Engine Cars Runs Into Trouble

A key part of the European Green Deal—the EU’s plan to become climate neutral by 2050—risks being derailed. This week Germany’s finance and transport ministers called for combustion engine vehicles to be exempt from the EU’s plan to end the sale of new combustion engine cars and vans from 2035. The Italian government is also broadly opposed to the regulation and Poland and Hungary have also signaled their opposition to the plan.

Read more here.



More Green Transportation News

EU Electric Car Insistence Exposes Auto Industry To Existential Threat

Luminar Aims To Put Lidar, First Created For AVs, Into Millions Of Regular Cars

EV Battery Swapper Ample Lands Major Grant

Electric Bike Battery Collection And Recycling Program Started By U.K.’s Bicycle Association

Cars Not Banned In 15-Minute Cities Nor Will Bugs Be Lunch

These Are The 12 ‘Greenest’ Cars In The U.S. For 2023

Here Are The 12 Environmentally ‘Meanest’ Vehicles In The U.S. For 2023

Zero Reteams With Huge Design To Create Sci-Fi SR-X Custom Electric Motorcycle

Waymo’s L.A. Robotaxi Fleet Is Going Fully Driverless


For More Sustainability Coverage, Click Here.

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