The Role of Tech Corporations in Carbon Emissions

As the world hurtles towards an impending catastrophe, a few major players start to emerge that might have a higher impact at making global warming a larger problem than might have been the case otherwise. The aviation industry is often blamed for contributing a larger portion of carbon emissions that are increasing the rate at which the climate of the planet happens to degrade, but in spite of the fact that this is the case, tech corporations contribute just as much.

With all of that having been said and now out of the way, it is important to note that the tech industry contributes anywhere from two to three percent of the world’s carbon emissions. This is actually comparable to the emissions that come from the aviation industry, so curbing the tech sector’s contribution can be crucial to keeping global warming under the catastrophic 1.5 Celsius degree increase that is on the horizon.

Major tech companies such as Google as well as Meta signed a pledge wherein they promised to contribute nearly a billion dollars to reducing their carbon footprint. To be more specific, these companies pledged to invest $925 million into this endeavor with all things having been considered and taken into account.

However, it bears mentioning that neither of these companies hold the title of highest carbon emitter in the entire tech space. That dubious honor belongs to Samsung, which puts out an estimated 20 million metric tons of carbon dioxide each and every year. This is equivalent to 4.3 million cars driving on the road. Fortunately, the company has spent an estimated $5 billion on becoming carbon neutral by 2060.

The Korean electronics manufacture is not traditionally considered to be a part of the Big Five in tech, so its role needs to be factored in for the purposes of maintaining the planet for future generations. If we were to zero in solely on the Big Five, Amazon emerges as the biggest offender in this regard.

Amazon produces an annual 16.2 million metric tons of CO2, and while this is 20% less than what Samsung contributes, it is still an enormous portion of the total emissions that are speeding up climate change. The multi-trillion dollar company should therefore be held accountable. Jeff Bezos has signed another pledge in 2019 claiming that his company will be carbon neutral by 2040, yet the company’s carbon footprint grew by 18% in 2021 alone.

As for companies that produce the most carbon emissions per employee, the Taiwan based semiconductor creator named TSMC came out on top. Each worker at this corporation puts out an estimated 206 metric tons of CO2 per year, yet the importance of semiconductors to global trade often helps corporations like this fly under the radar.

Another way to look at this is in terms of carbon emissions relative to revenue. In this respect, yet another semiconductor manufacturer comes to the fore. This time around, it is the US based Onsemi that holds the title of highest carbon emitter relative to revenue. This company emit around 405 metric tons of CO2 for every million dollars of income that they bring in.

Semiconductor firms are often the worst offenders in terms of the carbon emissions that they put out, at least when you look at it in the context of a per employee or relative to revenue basis. The lack of feasible renewable energy in Asia continues to hamper any attempts to achieve carbon neutrality within the next few decades. A major shift will have to occur, otherwise there will simply be no way to stop the catastrophe that seems to be right at our doorstep. Every tech company needs to play its part in helping to keep climate change and global warming at bay.

The Carbon Emissions of Big Tech

H/T: Electronics Hub
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