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  • btc = $64 322.00 -22.31 (-0.03 %)

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  • ton = $7.59 0.42 (5.93 %)

19 May, 2024
1 min time to read

As Microsoft intensifies its focus on artificial intelligence, its latest sustainability report reveals significant increases in water usage and carbon emissions.

In 2023, the tech giant's water consumption rose from 6.4 million cubic meters in 2022 to 7.8 million cubic meters. Meanwhile, carbon emissions jumped from around 12 million metric tons in 2020 to approximately 15 million metric tons in 2023. These increases are primarily attributed to the expansion of datacenters and the associated construction materials and hardware components.

Microsoft has set ambitious goals to reduce its carbon footprint by 2030. It is committed to adopting greener technologies, materials and processes, as well as investing in water recharge projects. But the company's artificial intelligence ambitions, including a high-profile partnership with OpenAI, require huge energy and water resources, making it difficult to meet its sustainability goals.

The broader AI industry faces similar challenges, as the data centers needed to develop AI require significant resources. According to CNBC, Goldman Sachs predicts that 60% of the energy for these data centers will come from natural gas, with the rest coming from renewable sources. This has led to calls for an energy breakthrough, perhaps through fusion or increased use of nuclear power.

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman and other experts have suggested that the AI industry's future may depend on such energy innovations. Reflecting this trend, Amazon recently acquired a datacenter powered by a nuclear plant in Pennsylvania for $650 million, and Microsoft has shown interest in nuclear energy through recent job postings.