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Microsoft's carbon negative goal to get UN award

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BY VISHAL GULATI

Glasgow, Nov 8 (IANS) Microsoft will be carbon negative by 2030. By 2050, the US-based tech giant will remove from the environment all the carbon the company has emitted either directly or by electrical consumption since it was founded in 1975.

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At the 26th Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP26) in this Scottish city, the UN Climate Change will bestow Microsoft, among others, the Global Climate Action Awards in the last week of the pivotal climate negotiations aimed to keep global heating to 1.5C, as required by the 2015 Paris Agreement.

The UN Global Climate Action Awards are spearheaded by UN Climate Change to shine a light on the enormous groundswell of activities underway across the globe that are moving the world toward a highly resilient, low-carbon future.

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The awards recognise innovative and transformative solutions that address both climate change and wider economic, social and environmental challenges.

In 2021, 11 game-changing initiatives were selected by our international advisory panel as the winners of the awards and will be showcased during a series of special events and an award ceremony during the second week of COP26.

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According to the UN Climate Change, these projects fall within three focus areas: Climate Neutral Now, Financing for Climate Friendly Investment and Climate Leaders.

The Climate Leaders event focuses on transformational efforts by governments at every level (national, provincial, state, city, town) that are moving the needle on climate change.

This event on Tuesday will showcase the three winning projects, under the Climate Leaders focus area.

The award-winning projects will present their climate solutions. Like the city of Paris aims to reduce local emissions by 100 per cent, achieving the goal of zero emissions in Paris, promoting an 80 per cent reduction in the carbon footprint of Paris compared to 2004 levels by 2050.

In the Climate Neutral Now special event on November 11, it will recognise efforts by companies that are achieving real results in transitioning to climate neutrality. Here, Microsoft, which is carbon neutral globally since 2012, will be honoured.

The company is now committing to remove from the environment all the carbon the company has emitted either directly or by electrical consumption since it was founded in 1975 by 2050.

Also the UK-based Taylors of Harrogate, an independent family tea and coffee business whose carbon neutral product certification is from ‘field to supermarket shelf’ accounting for all the emissions from cultivating, processing and shipping its tea and coffee.

ICA Gruppen, Sweden’s leading food retailer, is going beyond climate neutrality to achieving a net zero impact from the group’s own operations by 2030 and cutting the climate impact from customers’ grocery purchases in half by 2030.

Likewise, the House of Baukjen, London-based fashion house, whose business and operations follow in every way the circular economy ideal, from production to materials being cycled, and does so while being carbon negative.

“This is what leadership looks like,” said UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa.

Significantly greater ambition is required to keep the 1.5C goal within reach. Current pledges by nearly 200 nations often fall short because they are based on the perceptions of what can be achieved in the context of current climate solutions and technologies.

In its latest report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates that limiting global average temperature increases to 1.5C requires a reduction of CO2 emissions of 45 per cent in 2030. Yet current emission reduction pledges fall far short.

Unless urgent action is taken, the current level of ambition is likely to put the world on course for a 2.7C average temperature increase and ever-increasing extreme weather events.

Global warming is already causing long-lasting changes to the climate system, and threatens lives and livelihoods around the world.

COP26 is the annual UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties.

This year’s COP is being held under the presidency of the UK and will be hosted in Glasgow from October 31 to November 12. The climate talks have brought together heads of state, climate experts and campaigners to agree coordinated action to tackle climate change.

(Vishal Gulati can be contacted at vishal.g@ians.in)

–IANS

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