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Microsoft Makes Ambitious Carbon Neutral Pledge

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the we-will-grow-a-rainforest-on-the-moon dept.

Earth 178

Qedward writes "Chief operating officer Kevin Turner says Microsoft will be 'carbon neutral across all our direct operations including data centers, software development labs, air travel, and office buildings' from July 1, the start of the 2012 fiscal year. Turner added: 'We are hopeful that our decision will encourage other companies, large and small, to look at what they can do to address this important issue."

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178 comments

Microsoft (5, Informative)

Valacity (2634575) | about 2 years ago | (#39934383)

I think this is a great initiative by Microsoft. They have shown that they greatly care about the environment and common good. Not only that, but they spend lots of money on their R&D (Microsoft Research) which has come up with tons of great things that has made the world better.

On top of that Microsoft's founder Bill Gates has spent most of his fortune [wikipedia.org] to help the world, especially for healthcare and making the poor countries better. Even if you don't like MS products you have to have deep respect for them for this reason. Compare this to Google CEO's who spend their money on luxury yachts [dailymail.co.uk].

Oh yeah? (1)

Moblaster (521614) | about 2 years ago | (#39934425)

Sounds like a lot of hot air to me.

Re:Oh yeah? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39934613)

They should be cleaning all that garbage code...

Re:Oh yeah? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39935169)

Sounds like a lot of hot air to me.

More like hot carbon.

Re:Microsoft (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39934481)

just posted an already a post praising MS and bashing Google...man someone has an axe to grind

Sadly because of Poe's law we will never truly be able to figure out which side he truly supports.

lol (1)

daniel78 (2563977) | about 2 years ago | (#39934881)

Since you're arbitrarily comparing Microsoft founders to Google CEOs (as if that was even in any way relevant to his story) it seems a little ironic you'd bring up private yachts, when Paul Allen is infamous for his own "mega yacht" [wikipedia.org]

Re:Microsoft (0, Troll)

doston (2372830) | about 2 years ago | (#39934931)

I think this is a great initiative by Microsoft. They have shown that they greatly care about the environment and common good. Not only that, but they spend lots of money on their R&D (Microsoft Research) which has come up with tons of great things that has made the world better. On top of that Microsoft's founder Bill Gates has spent most of his fortune [wikipedia.org] to help the world, especially for healthcare and making the poor countries better. Even if you don't like MS products you have to have deep respect for them for this reason. Compare this to Google CEO's who spend their money on luxury yachts [dailymail.co.uk].

I have a better idea. How about stop raping the planet and exploiting the human inhabitants under wage slavery and see if food/medicine distriubtion doesn't improve. Sorry, but I'm not going to get all weak in the knees because some douche put the 50 billion he received by monopolizing into what amounts to a mutual fund where the profits go to vaccinating and helping people who never had to be in poverty in the first place, but for the inequitable economic system they were exploited under in the first place. Show me a poverty stricken country and I'll show you how it's capitalism and usually directly the US's doing. History goes back a long time, most of you seem to have a poor grasp of even current events. Take a look at what caused all this misery and you won't be so impressed by these generous foundations that are all the rage these days. And by the way, they're over reported (for a reason); most rich people sit on their money and leave it to their brats.

Re:Microsoft (2, Insightful)

Surt (22457) | about 2 years ago | (#39935103)

As I always say: the level of your charity is defined by how much you have left when you're done.
A poor man with two dollars who gives one is far more generous than a rich man with 40 billion who gives 39 billion.

Re:Microsoft (4, Insightful)

Jeremi (14640) | about 2 years ago | (#39935247)

As I always say: the level of your charity is defined by how much you have left when you're done.
A poor man with two dollars who gives one is far more generous than a rich man with 40 billion who gives 39 billion.

On the other hand, one dollar isn't enough to buy a single cup of coffee these days, whereas 39 billion dollars could improve the lives of a substantial number of people.

Your definition of generosity might be useful for deciding who gets in to Heaven, but it doesn't have much to say about who is making a difference in the world.

Re:Microsoft (2)

Surt (22457) | about 2 years ago | (#39935351)

Entirely true. Though at that end of the scale, I'd make an argument about harm done to acquire the billions vs good done with them.

Re:Microsoft (2)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#39935937)

man gives his last two dollars, then what?

It' was stupid. Should have used that 2 dollars to get a pencil and paper and make a plan, then spend his time implementing his plan. In 5 years when he goes from nothing to middle class, he can then donate more money, and eat.

Your idea of charity is short sighted, and, frankly, stupid.
But you keep reciting shit religion has been telling people in order to get there last 2 dollar for as long as there has been religion.

Re:Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39935167)

Fuck off, bonch.

Re:Microsoft (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about 2 years ago | (#39935571)

It's not like other MS founders don't have luxury yachts. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Octopus_(yacht), and lots of rich people don't necessarily feel the need to give the money to charity which may not be all that effective and robs governments of tax revenue from estate taxes (where such things exist) http://www.onlinecardonation.org/charitynews/archives/102.

It's not like MS trying to go carbon neutral is a bad thing. Both Google and apple have massive solar power generators, and there are lots of people trying to be better corporate citizens. But it's the modern equivalent of freeing your slaves when you die (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Washington), or giving colonies independence after looting them for all you can. Yes, MS is trying to do good now, hell they even make better products than they did 20 years ago, but the *only* reason they're behaving well is because they have taken more money from us than they know what to do with, and are hoping to earn back karma, a legacy, favour with some fictitious deity, or to make up for their own young naive decisions with the benefit of years of experience.

Again, none of this is bad, hell buying a 300 million dollar yacht isn't bad, if you have the money it's better spent paying people to build and maintain a boat than sitting as a pile of stock somewhere, and give someone else a chance to earn some dividends on that capital. But don't think for a minute that most other people wouldn't do the same thing given the problem of more money than they know how to spend. I would argue steve jobs never really had the chance, so we can't entirely fault him for not doing much personally for anyone else, where everyone else from that era has had a chance to think about their contribution not just to their companies but to humanity as a whole, Jobs never really got out of the mindset of 'the company'.

Charge less (1)

XanC (644172) | about 2 years ago | (#39934413)

Other companies large and small will probably be wondering why they couldn't just pay less for their MS licenses instead.

Re:Charge less (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39935143)

That seems pretty short-sighted.

Re:Charge less (3, Informative)

cowboy76Spain (815442) | about 2 years ago | (#39935883)

I find amusing that while everybody claims to know how capitalism works, they still get wrong.

Repeat with me:

The only relationships between costs and price is that, IF MY PRICE GOES BELOW MY COSTS, I GO BROKE.

If I get a product for free, I can sell it for $1 or $1.000.000. The decission will be based in which price gives me more profits (perhaps at $1 I get so many customers that it offsets the lower prices, in the other hand it will mean that I will have bigger production/distribution costs). With many products, market share is very affected by price, but that is not universal (you only get one dose of a vaccine, no matter how cheap the second one is; no matter how expensive is it, you will a bottle of water if you are in the middle of the desert).

The theory says that if I get a big difference between price and cost (-> profit) then other bussinesmen will catch up and enter my bussiness, leading to competition and eventually lowering prices. Of course, what is not usually said is the long list of "exceptions":

*) My product is unique -let it be by its properties, by copyright or even by marketing/branding-; nobody can copy it.

*) Time to market is big: even if the other bussinesmen begin trying to catch me today, they will spend years until they get a product ready (think of designing a car, or a full new OS).

*) Investment is big: bussinesmen do not have enough capital to invest as they should in this market, if they ask for loans the interest to pay will be a significant disavantage against me. And when if they finally get to do it, I am in a good position to dump prices so they can not recoup their investments, let alone get benefits (this one works better when coupled with the previous ones, see nuclear electricity).

This can't be right (-1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#39934419)

from what I have read on Slashdot,l going green means massive taxes, a completly lock down on personal freedom, and removing the ability for companies to succeed. herp derp.

Good Job MS.

Re:This can't be right (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39934495)

Heh. "Carbon neutral" is mostly a bunch of BS.
The cheapest way to be "carbon neutral" is to hand some country, preferably the cheapest one possible, a bunch of cash to plant some trees that they might have been planning to plant anyway, probably some monoculture to replace hills that had been burned or chopped clear of trees already.

Or you can pay someone to promise not to burn stuff through a project they may not have been wanting to do anyway.

If the world actually tried to make the human race anywhere *near* carbon neutral it *would* be hideously expensive.
"herp derp"

Re:This can't be right (2)

Ichijo (607641) | about 2 years ago | (#39935293)

If the world actually tried to make the human race anywhere *near* carbon neutral it *would* be hideously expensive.

Really? How much would that be?

And how much would it cost the world not to become carbon neutral?

Re:This can't be right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39935345)

It wouldn't be that expensive. It would cost me $10,000 one time to go solar and long term LiFePO4 batteries to run my energy efficient house.
Or I could pay $30/month, $360/year for coal, dirty air, mountain top removal, coal ash...

So, in 25 years I could get 25 years of clean air, or I could be stuck renting my energy from some power company that uses a lot of coal power.

Re:This can't be right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39935641)

Hideously expensive?

Or reflective of the true cost?

Or do you lament the cost of water treatment and bans on dumping toxic waste as an unnecessary expense passed onto the consumer?

Re:This can't be right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39936097)

Maybe we should drop the term "carbon neutral" and call it environmentalism.

Also, is global warming, if it exists, man-made or not? Does it matter? Environmentalism for the sake of less pollution. I don't care if being "green" stops global warming. Stop pollution for the sake of stopping pollution.

And businesses should focus on being more efficient rather than dealing with "offsets". I'm not all too familiar with Microsoft's campus, but do their roofs have solar panels? Yes, I realize it's Washington state, but couldn't they help reduce their grid reliance by having solar power?

No, no, no! .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39934521)

Microsoft is EVIL EVIL EVIL they're a MONOPOLY!!!!!

"Green" is a farse and it IS a way to tax us more, limit our FREEDOMS, and bring our way of life to an END! The fact that MS is involved just proves that "Green" is EVIL!!

AAHHHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHH!! Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrg.

*Head assplodes*

Re:No, no, no! .... (1)

lightknight (213164) | about 2 years ago | (#39934835)

*I can't believe I'm doing this*

Green is fine (a few things, here and there, as a libertarian, I'd have to differ over, but many of their ideas are sound).
New Green is insane (they're going places which make many of the older Greens say 'WTF').

Re:No, no, no! .... (1)

doston (2372830) | about 2 years ago | (#39934967)

Microsoft is EVIL EVIL EVIL they're a MONOPOLY!!!!!

"Green" is a farse and it IS a way to tax us more, limit our FREEDOMS, and bring our way of life to an END! The fact that MS is involved just proves that "Green" is EVIL!!

AAHHHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHH!! Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrg.

*Head assplodes*

This must be a corporation with personhood who's achieved self awareness. Yeah, I guess it would seem bad to this...uh..."person".

Re:This can't be right (0)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 2 years ago | (#39934643)

a completly lock down on personal freedom

Indeed. Every story dealing with the climate, the charge is made that climate change is a conspiracy to deprive you of your freedom. And then it's never explained who is going to be taking the freedoms and what freedoms are going to be taken.

Well, aside from comments that "they" are going to regulate your breathing. I assume those comments aren't serious though. I vaguely recall someone arguing that it was just a plan by Al Gore to get laid. Not sure how many people subscribe to that particular conspiracy theory though.

Re:This can't be right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39934915)

I'm assuming your joking here because no one can really be that ignorant and have any kind of opinion on this topic.

http://www.dailyfinance.com/2009/11/03/al-gore-the-worlds-first-carbon-billionaire/

Al Gore set himself up to make a billion dollars, but Obama couldn't get cap and trade passed through Congress. Had it passed Gore would have instantly become one of the richest people in the country. They were also setting up a $300 billion carbon trading network in Chicago, every company that emits CO2 was going to have to buy offsets from other companies/countries that didn't, and many liberals were planning on taking a percentage of every one of those trades.

You want freedoms limited? Try building a coal fire power plant. Try putting in an oil pipeline between Canada and the US. Try and drill for oil or get a lease to drill for oil on any federal land.

Like I said before, I have to assume you are joking or trolling because you can't really be that ignorant.

Re:This can't be right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39935229)

So wait... I thought conservatives thought getting rich was GOOD?

But I guess when Al Gore does it, it's BAD, right? Because EVERYTHING he does is bad, right?

I sure wish conservatives were even remotely capable of being consistent, and voiding complete and utter systemic hypocrisy. Jesus.

I mean, you don't see conservatives bitching about how House Speaker Boehner has set himself up to get rich off the Keystone Pipeline, and then started pushing it in Congress, do you? Because THAT is just free enterprise right? Good lord...

And yeah, there are restrictions on building a coal fired power plant. How is that bad again? I mean, your freedom to build one stops at the nose of everyone who has to breathe the pollutants. There are COSTS, enviornmental ones, that regulation makes explicit... so corporations can't get rich off of something and then dump the clean-up on taxpayers. So how is regulation bad again?

Your'e an ignorant idiot and a troll.

Re:This can't be right (1)

Surt (22457) | about 2 years ago | (#39935233)

I favor people being completely free to do anything that has no impact on shared resources. So build all the coal plants you want, as long as they don't vent to our shared atmosphere. Build a pipeline, but if it spills, you better have insurance sufficient to pay for the worst case cleanup effort. Etc. It's really all pretty straightforward and sane if you think about it.

Re:This can't be right (2)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#39936029)

AS sson as you can keep all the impact form those things only on you property,. go for it. But tyou better gaurentee it, and you better clean of every molecules the goes onto someone else property.

", every company that emits CO2 was going to have to buy offsets from other companies/countries that didn't, and many liberals were planning on taking a percentage of every one of those trades."

well that's completely wrong, . you need to find someone who doesn't actually follow the details of these things to peddle your shit.

I can list a whole bunch or reports and research that's right down the hallway. But instead I will simply point out the lowest common denominator.
If what you said is true, it would be all over the republican ad campaign. Instead we have implied lies that have been thoroughly discredited.

Sorry jackass you are wrong and your view is wrong.

More oil is drilled in US territory the there has been in 50 years

I also can't go into my neighbors yard and shit on his lawn. Oh the terrible lack of freedom I suffer from~! woes is me~ woes~

Re:This can't be right (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 2 years ago | (#39936123)

You're saying some people who are urging us to fight a real problem have some special interest in it. I suppose that would be a conspiracy, but the climate change skeptics I was referring to are claiming that climate change is a hoax entirely.

Furthermore, that's a scheme to make money.

You want freedoms limited? Try building a coal fire power plant. Try putting in an oil pipeline between Canada and the US. Try and drill for oil or get a lease to drill for oil on any federal land.

Now you must be the one trolling or joking. Those aren't personal freedoms.

Finally, you're presumably saying Al Gore et al are bad because they're enriching themselves at the expense of everyone else. That's what coal-fired power plants do, UNLESS you make them pay for the external costs (pollution, climate change). Which you're also arguing against.

A good chunk of this is through "carbon offsets" (-1, Troll)

Quila (201335) | about 2 years ago | (#39934675)

That means the modern-day indulgences to paid to the Church of the Environment, not actual carbon output reduction. A bunch of Al Gore's wealth is in such companies (makes you wonder why he pushes the issue).

But some of the stuff is just good ideas for energy efficiency that anybody should be able to get behind. We'll see how happy the shareholders are.

As far as your statement goes, this is a company doing it voluntarily. The various authoritarian types in NGOs and governments have been talking about FORCING companies to do this, FORCING people to abide by their new rules, and using our taxes to pay other countries to not pollute. There is such a thing as "liberal authoritarian" in the political ideology spectrum, and environmentalists tend to be the most authoritarian.

Re:A good chunk of this is through "carbon offsets (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39934775)

There is such a thing as "liberal authoritarian" in the political ideology spectrum, and environmentalists tend to be the most authoritarian.

Companies need to be told, in no uncertain terms, that illegal polluting will result in a fine that will more than offset the profits to be gained by doing so.

Call it "authoritarian" if you like. Companies don't have feelings, families, or rights. They exist solely according to a charter granted by the state. It is perfectly acceptable for the state to dictate to them exactly how they will be allowed to exist.

Re:This can't be right (1)

doston (2372830) | about 2 years ago | (#39934945)

from what I have read on Slashdot,l going green means massive taxes, a completly lock down on personal freedom, and removing the ability for companies to succeed. herp derp.

Good Job MS.

Do you learn everything you know from Slasdot? I mean, if I went by your posts, I'd be miguided, too. Open a book, dummy.

Re:This can't be right (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#39936053)

No, but apparently you learned your sense of humor from nobody.

I read more book before I was 20 then most people read in their lifetimes.
Although now that I have a kindle, I don't even like to read hard copies.
Except for engineering and mathematics.

In related news (2)

Scareduck (177470) | about 2 years ago | (#39934439)

Microsoft to hire Accenture to audit these claims ...

Re:In related news (1)

timeOday (582209) | about 2 years ago | (#39934567)

Deception and creative accounting would be more of an issue if somebody were compelling them to do it, but that's not the case.

Re:In related news (1)

XanC (644172) | about 2 years ago | (#39934759)

It would also be an issue if they were making a claim to score marketing points without really caring whether they lived up to it.

Re:In related news (1)

timeOday (582209) | about 2 years ago | (#39935427)

I think it would be somewhat dangerous as an empty marketing ploy. There is enough sentiment against both Microsoft and environmentalism to ensure that in a couple years somebody will at least try to prove this effort was either futile or undertaken cynically in the first place.

Re:In related news (1)

Surt (22457) | about 2 years ago | (#39935263)

LOL. Sometimes I wonder how anyone lives with themselves working for a company like Accenture. And yet so many people do. Really undermines my limited faith in humanity.

I don't see how this is possible. (3, Insightful)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#39934449)

They use a lot of electricity. Unless Microsoft is planning to buy "carbon offset" credits, so they can pollute and yet just handwave it away.

I'd prefer they take a pledge to be megabyte neutral, and learn to develop a new OS that doesn't use any more megabytes of RAM (or virtual ram) then Windows 7. Ditto for Office, Visio, and other products.

Re:I don't see how this is possible. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39934523)

Windows 8 uses less ram than windows 7, which is about the same as windows xp.

You just have to turn off the trimmings.

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/b8/archive/2011/10/07/reducing-runtime-memory-in-windows-8.aspx

Re:I don't see how this is possible. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39934541)

False dichotomy. They can do both. And actually, they are. Win8 system requirements are less than Win7's.

Re:I don't see how this is possible. (4, Informative)

el jocko del oeste (2450190) | about 2 years ago | (#39934557)

They use a lot of electricity. Unless Microsoft is planning to buy "carbon offset" credits, so they can pollute and yet just handwave it away.

That's exactly what they're doing. They're touting their effort to reduce their energy usage and their purchase of carbon offsets to cover the energy that they can't avoid using.

Re:I don't see how this is possible. (0)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#39934645)

Okay. That means somebody else (us maybe) has to cut back on their pollution to offset Microsoft's pollution credits.

Re:I don't see how this is possible. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39934685)

Yes, and the market will decide how much that somebody gets paid to do it. As long as there's no outright fraud, I don't see how that's any worse than directly reducing emissions.

Re:I don't see how this is possible. (0)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#39934847)

Someone's going to pay me to turn-off the heat & sit in a cold house? Cool. Where do I sign up?

Re:I don't see how this is possible. (2)

Jeremi (14640) | about 2 years ago | (#39935159)

Okay. That means somebody else (us maybe) has to cut back on their pollution to offset Microsoft's pollution credits.

Yup, but it also means that Microsoft will (indirectly) be paying for that improvement. It's hard to see that as a bad thing.

Re:I don't see how this is possible. (2)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 2 years ago | (#39935963)

Yup, but it also means that Microsoft will (indirectly) be paying for that improvement. It's hard to see that as a bad thing.

True as long as the carbon credits are priced in the right ballpark.

The idea is to turn an externality (a cost to society at large) to something the "invisible hand" of the market will take care of fixing. As long as the market for carbon credits is well regulated it does not get any more libertarian than this.

Re:I don't see how this is possible. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39934737)

While certainly that may be part of it, a large number of the datacenters in question are intended to run from "clean" sources such as hydro-electric. Lot of big buildings are going up along the Columbia river for example for all the big data center players.

Re:I don't see how this is possible. (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#39936111)

BAsed on what?

Earlier this month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recognized Microsoft as the third largest purchaser of green power in the U.S., purchasing more than 1.5 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power annually. This is enough green power to offset 46 percent of our electricity use, and is the annual equivalent to taking more than 150,000 passenger vehicles off the road.

So it's a a lot more the offsets.

Carbon offset vary. Some are good , some are pretty thin. I didn't see that the specifically meant by carbon offsets.

Re:I don't see how this is possible. (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 2 years ago | (#39934605)

They use a lot of electricity. Unless Microsoft is planning to buy "carbon offset" credits, so they can pollute and yet just handwave it away.

They can also claim their Microsoft-branded hardware like the XBox, keyboards, mice, etc., are all made by other companies, so they're not responsible for anything but the ink used to print "Microsoft" on it. And having dug into their statement... it appears they've done exactly that. They appear to be claiming only their offices and data centers towards the "carbon neutral" claim. It's not hard to claim you're "carbon neutral" when all you do is lease office space and consume electricity. -_- I'll believe in a "carbon neutral" statement when they adjust for the cost of manufacture and disposal of their computers, office equipment, company vehicles, as well as the total lifecycle of all the products that carry the Microsoft brand name.

Re:I don't see how this is possible. (1)

noh8rz3 (2593935) | about 2 years ago | (#39934681)

I agree mostly with you. Yu're right, they can directly mitigate their own emissions when possible, and buy renewable energy credits to cover the rest. RECs aren't hand waving. It's an established system for optimizing and maximizing green hous gas reductions across the economy.

Re:I don't see how this is possible. (4, Informative)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 2 years ago | (#39935055)

They use a lot of electricity

I don't know about all operations, but the bulk of development work, and most internal servers and such, are in Redmond, and elsewhere in Puget Sound area. Most electricity generated there comes from hydro - about 75% - and you can actually get 100% renewable sourcing for your own power bill if you're willing to pay extra to the power distribution company (they'll basically buy more kWh from "green" provides with that money, even if their prices are higher).

I'd prefer they take a pledge to be megabyte neutral, and learn to develop a new OS that doesn't use any more megabytes of RAM (or virtual ram) then Windows 7

This is essentially what the bar is for Win8 - it should run on any PC that runs Win7 today, which in practice means same or lower RAM usage. It's actually lower overall, because of all optimizations that had to be done to squeeze it onto tablets (for the ARM edition especially), which still have an effect on desktop machines.

Re:I don't see how this is possible. (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#39935325)

P.S.

I'm surprised microsoft is still making 32 bit versions of Windows. If this was apple they'd just abandon all the 32 bit computers (as they abandoned PPC computers after just 3 years).

Re:I don't see how this is possible. (1)

pnot (96038) | about 2 years ago | (#39935195)

They use a lot of electricity. Unless Microsoft is planning to buy "carbon offset" credits, so they can pollute and yet just handwave it away.

It seems they're taking the obvious step of trying to make sure that the power comes from carbon-neutral sources. From TFWhitepaper linked from TFA:

we are considering a portfolio of approaches, including: Signing long-term renewable power purchase agreements... Investing capital in new renewable energy projects... Connecting data centers directly to innovative energy sources...

Read all about it here [microsoft.com].

Saving the precious memory (1)

codecore (395864) | about 2 years ago | (#39935751)

Yes. We must be very diligent to spend effort to minimize our use of these rare and precious memory. We must save memory for future generations, because if we're not careful, we'll run out. It's become so expensive at $10/GB. What will we do? Help us!

Ambition: to be neutral (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 2 years ago | (#39934457)

I am strongly ambivalent on this story.

Will this help prevent global climate change? To quote Futurama: "Neutral President: All I know is my gut says maybe."

Re:Ambition: to be neutral (-1, Troll)

crutchy (1949900) | about 2 years ago | (#39934619)

marketing: "how are we going to win with the tree huggers?"
ivy league nerd: "we have some trees outside"
ballmer: "what's a tree?"
marketing: "we have trees? that's carbon-neutral enough for me"
legal: "do we have a patent for trees? i've also seen trees at apple headquarters. we had better chop them down and then sue them for patent violation just in case. after we cut down their trees, marketing launch a fud campaign against apple for being a pollution chugging bad guy"

Re:Ambition: to be neutral (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39934769)

A few years ago it was estimated that the global carbon footprint of datacenters had matched the airline industry at approximately 2% of global carbon output.
I can only imagine it's gone up from there.

It's not hard being Carbon Neutral (0, Troll)

leathered (780018) | about 2 years ago | (#39934509)

..for a fucking software company. Wake me when a company involved in things like steelmaking, mining, transport and heavy engineering become carbon neutral.

Re:It's not hard being Carbon Neutral (1)

timeOday (582209) | about 2 years ago | (#39934637)

Microsoft's pledge includes their use of the services you mentioned. If all the customers of all airlines, for example, were carbon neutral including their use of air transport, then the problem is solved. Whether that's possible I don't know, but since we are hardly even making an effort yet, large gains are relatively easy.

Re:It's not hard being Carbon Neutral (-1, Offtopic)

gmanterry (1141623) | about 2 years ago | (#39935011)

Microsoft's pledge includes their use of the services you mentioned. If all the customers of all airlines, for example, were carbon neutral including their use of air transport, then the problem is solved. Whether that's possible I don't know, but since we are hardly even making an effort yet, large gains are relatively easy.

You do realize, I hope, that the purpose of the TSA is in fact not anything to do with stopping terrorism. Their sole purpose is to push the population into a mentality where they refuse to fly. This is the reason Congress will do nothing to stop the TSA from molesting children and the elderly. The sole purpose is to decrease air travel and therefore reduce emissions from planes. They are doing a better job each year. The government just invented two more terrorist plots that they have saved us from so they can expand the intrusiveness even more. I hope none of you hold airline stocks.

Re:It's not hard being Carbon Neutral (2)

bloodhawk (813939) | about 2 years ago | (#39934673)

They aren't just a software company. They have a huge amount of online services which consist of a large number of datacenters and hundreds of thousands of servers around the world. not to mention all their offices and services staff.

Re:It's not hard being Carbon Neutral (1)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | about 2 years ago | (#39935281)

By my estimates Alcoa uses 22.4 billion kw/h per year smelting Aluminum. (One of the most electricity intensive industries).

All data-centers in the US used 66 billion kw/h and Microsoft has some of the largest data-centers in the world. I'm sure they're not up to Alcoa's standards but they also aren't insubstantial.

Raise EU prices 30%, buy carbon credits, simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39934569)

Last week, they annouced a price raise of about 30% to EU customers.
This week, they are buying carbon credits.

Seems a little tooooo planned to me.

F/LOSS software is still free, even with a 30% price increase.

Hi, chief operating officer Kevin Turner here, (0)

mugurel (1424497) | about 2 years ago | (#39935071)

Actually, we don't need to buy credits for carbon neutrality, just raising the prices will do the trick:

Let's call the carbon load associated with Microsoft activies X, and the price of a Windows license P. Furthermore, Q is the the money the average Windows user earns, after subtracting P. Finally we will denote by Y the total carbon load associated with the goods he/she buys at the value of Q, on average. If we increase the price of a Windows license by 100*((C*X/(Y*P)-1)%, the user will have less money to spend (and subsequently incur less carbon overhead), to extent that Microsoft carbon footprint is neutralized.

Switiching to Linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39934595)

They plan on doing that by first switching to a more efficient OS... aka Linux

Err... Google Carbon Neutral since 2007 (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39934611)

Great that Microsoft is going carbon-neutral, that they're "hopeful that our decision will encourage other companies, large and small, to look at what they can do to address this important issue," but Google's been carbon neutral since 2007:
http://www.industryleadersmagazine.com/how-has-google-managed-to-be-a-carbon-neutral-company-since-2007/ [industryle...gazine.com]

Dell has been carbon neutral since 2008:
http://www.treehugger.com/corporate-responsibility/dell-reaches-carbon-neutrality-goals-5-months-ahead-of-schedule.html [treehugger.com]

If anything, Microsoft is a bit late to the party. Still, good work.

Re:Err... Google Carbon Neutral since 2007 (1)

sandytaru (1158959) | about 2 years ago | (#39934803)

If every company in the world became carbon neutral, then Google might have accomplished something big. Now, given what the electricity situation is in Japan at the moment, the real news is going to be when Sony or Hitachi goes neutral.

Re:Err... Google Carbon Neutral since 2007 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39935201)

Google's been carbon neutral since 2007

That's an interesting read. About 25% of Google's power consumption is actually renewable. The other 75% is traditional energy offset by various pressure group payoffs including carbon offsets and investing in pressure group directed projects.

None of that accounting includes the vast amount of pollution created and energy consumed to make the thousands of Asian manufactured motherboards, hard disks, RAM devices, chassis, etc. that Google consumes every day to operate. In the end, a tiny fraction of the energy Google is responsible for consuming to render your services is actually 'renewable' and the rest is hand-waved with pressure group payoffs or smuggled onto other ledgers that Google doesn't answer for.

Cool. Is that what Dell does too? I didn't bother to read the story at that link; I try to limit my intake of bullshit.

Re:Err... Google Carbon Neutral since 2007 (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#39936125)

And to their credit, that mention they aren't he first in the article.

won't change much (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39934639)

usual it just means they pay a tiny extra too say all the power that is already carbon neutral, windmills etc, is the power they use

Sneaky bass tards (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39934657)

Sounds like someone at M$ was smart enough to keep some of the math bugged pentiums and they are using them to figure out what carbon neutral equals now.

Microsoft pledging Carbon-neutrality... (1)

Iniamyen (2440798) | about 2 years ago | (#39934781)

...Is sort of like Starbucks pledging to stop using the red bug dye [npr.org]. Some people will say it's responsible of them, but I really don't give a rat's ass.

Uhhh, thanks? (0)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 2 years ago | (#39934885)

Thanks for working to induce another ice age instead of helping with global warming and CO2 production to increase plant growth rates and arable land.

Re:Uhhh, thanks? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39934939)

Are you seriously under the delusion that the climate change brought about by greenhouse gases is going to /improve/ agriculture?

Amazing (1)

ezwip (974076) | about 2 years ago | (#39934949)

While I applaud their effort to remain neutral by paying for it things like Fukishima make me wonder if this is just PR and pushing a carbon tax.

Sharholder lawsuits (0)

doston (2372830) | about 2 years ago | (#39935047)

Yeah, the whole article is just a business case for this because they know what would happen if there wasn't a business case. And there wouldn't be a business case, but for carbon taxes. Exactly how it was supposed to work. Good job, government. Good job doing what you had to do, MS.

Pathetic; Who Cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39935099)

So, instead of directing their efforts towards software innovation - which, since they are a software company, is what they should be doing - they're worried about green BS and all the concomitant blather that goes along with it. Glad I'm not a shareholder. Microsoft is a shadow of its former self which, I'm sure, pleases many people on this site. I used to think they were a great company....now...I just think they're pathetic. This green BS carbon-neutral nonsense just affirms it

Re:Pathetic; Who Cares? (1)

protocolture (2460898) | about 2 years ago | (#39935761)

Actually I am the opposite. I used to rage hard at them during the IE6 /windows xp era that was fucking ridiculous. But I now acknowledge that their new products are steps in a direction away from that dinosaur. Truly I think that some people around here only hate on vista/7 because their favorite operating systems could compete against xp, but are having a tougher time with their new gear.

FRIST PSOOT (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39935253)

I've never seen EFNeT SERVERS.

What is "Green Power"? (0)

tomhath (637240) | about 2 years ago | (#39935441)

Earlier this month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recognized Microsoft as the third largest purchaser of green power in the U.S., purchasing more than 1.5 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power annually. This is enough green power to offset 46 percent of our electricity use

Does MS pay extra for it? Or is this just a feel good thing? "We requested that the electrons we pull off the grid came from windmills". What difference does it really make since the total amount of energy used is the same whether MS uses "green" energy or not?

Re:What is "Green Power"? (2)

daniel78 (2563977) | about 2 years ago | (#39935529)

It's also less impressive when you consider that Washington state, where MS is headquartered, produces nearly 75% of its electricity from renewable sources (hydroelectric source [choosewashington.com]) anyway. In effect, MS could easily be making zero effort at all to use "green" energy, and still be able to quote impressive looking figures.

carbon neutral? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39935589)

Being carbon neutral? that for sissies! Real men should be carbon negative!

That's not where the power is used. (1)

queazocotal (915608) | about 2 years ago | (#39935675)

Consider what tiny, tiny, tiny fraction of a percent they'd have to drop CPU load in every copy of windows, in order to equal the trivial saving they are attempting to make.

And also.... (1)

InspectorGadget1964 (2439148) | about 2 years ago | (#39935747)

They are going to resurect the dead. Slow down the speed of light. Create a working teleportation machine. Create a device that cleans the air from polutants, it is free to make, does not polute during manufacturing and they are going to give it away!

An idea... (1)

wbr1 (2538558) | about 2 years ago | (#39935759)

MS can power their data centers from the hot air put forth by Ballmer's mouth.
This is the second time I have posted this comment... the first mysteriously disappeared. I am really beginning to wonder who foots the bills at /.

Re:An idea... (1)

cowboy76Spain (815442) | about 2 years ago | (#39936007)

This is because the first time WE(the ominous conspiracy of evil overlords who control the internet from our black helicopters) pardoned you...

However, your perseverance and technical expertise has defeated our cleverly masterminded operation, and your clever words have been made public. This time there will be clemence.

If I were you, the next time you go driving somewhere, I would be cautious. I would be looking at the side lanes before entering an intersection. I would respect right of way. I would check in the mirror before switching lanes... or else

You have been warned :-P

They know all the accounting tricks (2)

vik (17857) | about 2 years ago | (#39935853)

They've managed to fiddle the figures to show virtually no taxable profit, so fiddling them to show zero carbon emissions should be a piece of well-iced cake.

Vik :v)

In other news... (2)

cowboy76Spain (815442) | about 2 years ago | (#39936035)

Half of the MS employees perish in a cave collapse during the company picnic.

The CEO explained to the press that MS had found the way to combine "carbon secuestration" with "reduced operation costs"

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