Apple and Microsoft pat themselves on the back for clean power progress

These pledges would be much more believable if they weren't supporting anti-climate reform lobbyists.


Apple has more than doubled the number of its suppliers committed to using 100 percent clean energy since 2020, according to the company’s first update on its progress toward reaching complete carbon neutrality by 2030. These 175 suppliers will create 9 gigawatts of clean power, which Apple says is similar to taking 4 million cars off the road each year.

Beyond its clean supply energy initiatives, Apple also announced today 10 new projects as part of its “Power for Impact” initiative. These projects work to bring renewable energy to communities around the world. One new project targets a community in Israel — a country many Apple employees believe the company should not be supporting.

Microsoft released a similar report today. Ahead of GOP26, both companies come across as certain they’re having a net positive impact on climate change. We’d believe them, too, if we didn’t already know about both companies’ secret lobbying connections.

Microsoft’s new cloud — As ambitious as Apple’s plan for net neutrality is, Microsoft went a step further last year in pledging to re-capture all of its past emissions as well. That part of the plan will take until about 2050.

One of Microsoft’s biggest climate change initiatives is the Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability, which allows teams and individuals to take better account of their carbon emissions. The new cloud is now live in public preview mode.

Microsoft released a separate report about its advancements toward its goal of reaching carbon neutrality by 2030. The company has developed a new approach to managing data center temperatures with much less water — Microsoft estimates the data centers will use 95 percent less water by 2024. Microsoft says it’s also deep in research about materials other than concrete and steel that would work for building new data centers.

How about the lobbying, Tim? — Corporate climate pledges — and accountability on the way to their conclusions — are a pivotal step toward stopping the planet’s spontaneous combustion. Those promises are a hell of a lot more believable when the companies making them aren’t pulling sneaky moves on the side, though.

We’re talking about The Guardian’s bombshell report from a few weeks ago, which alleges that a number of major companies are bankrolling lobbyists who fight against President Biden’s climate change reform bills. Apple and Microsoft are noted as two participants in this practice.

Both Microsoft and Apple are making headway on their climate impact goals. Until they stop this surreptitious lobbying, though, it’s really impossible to believe they actually want to be a force for positive change.