Google scope 2 GHG emissions up 37% YoY, expects further increase

Google scope 2 GHG emissions up 37% YoY, expects further increase


Google’s 2024 environment report revealed that the tech giant’s green house gas (GHG) emissions rose by 13% year over year in 2023, while scope 2 emissions rose by 37%.

The rise in emissions has been put down primarily to increased data centre energy consumption and supply chain emissions.

Total GHG emissions for the year clocked in at 14.3 million tons of CO2 equivalent, representing a 48% increase against 2019, which Google set as a baseline for its net zero goal.

That goal is to reduce 50% of its overall emissions by 2030 against the 2019 baseline, but the company expects emissions to continue to increase before they start to fall.

“As our business and industry continue to evolve, we expect our total GHG emissions to rise before dropping toward our absolute emissions reduction target,” it said.

As Google is integrating more AI solutions into its products it said that reducing GHG emissions may be challenging due to increasing energy demands from the greater intensity of AI compute, and the emissions associated with the expected increases in our technical infrastructure investment.

Chief sustainability officer, Kate Brandt said Google remained committed to its 2030 net zero ambition, but described the target as extremely ambitious.

“Our approach will continue to evolve and will require us to navigate significant uncertainty–including the uncertainty around the future environmental impact of AI, which is complex and difficult to predict,” the report said.

The 2030 target is supported by a goal to run on 24/7 carbon free energy on every grid where it operates.

In 2023, Google maintained 64% carbon-free emissions across its global data centres and offices, with ten grids achieving at least 90% carbon free energy.

Google signed contracts to purchase approximately 4 gigawatts of clean energy generation capacity in 11 locations such as Texas, Belgium, and Australia, more than any year prior.

Just two days ago, Google unveiled a partnership with BlackRock’s Climate Infrastructure business that will help support the development of a 1 gigawatt (GW) pipeline of new solar capacity in Taiwan.

Elsewhere in Asia though, it lamented that carbon free energy is not readily available, describing the Asia-Pacific region in general as “hard to decarbonise”.

In addition, Google said it often sees longer lead times between initial investments and construction of clean energy projects and the resulting GHG reductions from them.

In terms of reducing its scope 3 emissions, Google has implemented a renewable energy addendum that asks its largest hardware manufacturing suppliers, based on spend, to commit to achieving a 100% renewable energy match by 2029. 

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