Positive notes, positive change

Pollution
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Taking responsible action, now and for the future

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17 January 2020 | 0

There is little doubt that climate change, and the anthropomorphic elements of it, is the biggest challenge and threat facing humanity currently.

Doing something about it is critical to our future.

Microsoft has taken the bold step of not only setting a target by which it will be carbon negative, but also to take responsibility for historic emissions going back to its founding in 1975. All of which it pledges to do in a transparent manner, documented for scrutiny.

 

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That is a bold step for a publicly listed company headquartered in a nation whose current president has withdrawn from the Paris agreement, rowed back on previous climate change commitments and made promises about protecting the coal industry.

All of this came with a pledge to spend $1 billion on the efforts.

This is all to be praised and held up as an example to other companies in setting ambitious targets to meet the pressing need to decarbonise.

But, for a little context, at the end 2018, Microsoft’s revenue topped $100 billion for the year. For another piece of context, Germany has said it will spend €40 billion to remove coal from its economy.

In that context, $1 billion suddenly doesn’t sound like a lot to spend. The investment was described as an “innovation fund to accelerate the global development of carbon reduction, capture, and removal technologies.”

Again, in that context, unless matched by a dozen other such entities, is that really going to achieve much?

On another positive note, and the above is positive, is news that Europe is going to stump up half of the cost of an estimated €1 billion for the Celtic Interconnect between Ireland and France.

This new interconnect will carry 700MW of power to Ireland direct from our continental neighbours. It will be vital alternative to the current 500MW interconnector that goes to Britain.

It will also allow for a further reduction of the peat, coal and heavy fuel oil stations here, as the interconnect would allow easier phasing out of older, smaller, less efficient and clean generating capacity.  

It will also mean that Ireland will be less likely to be dependent on Britain in EU exit negotiations in determining how such previous cooperation works.

A win all round.

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