back to article Microsoft tries to clear the air with mountains of CO2 credits

Microsoft has inked a contract with Occidental Petroleum to buy 500,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide removal (CDR) "credits" over six years to support its overall carbon strategy. The move follows a dramatic rise in Microsoft's CO2 emissions due to datacenter construction. This latest agreement is with 1PointFive, Occidental' …

  1. b0llchit Silver badge

    What's in a title

    ...Microsoft's Senior Director for Carbon Removal and Energy...

    I'm almost sure he's got an art education with a major in using green tinted paints and a minor in green flamed work. Probably a good salesman at selling pink shaded glasses as green ones too.


    1. hoola Silver badge

      Re: What's in a title

      The entire concept of trading carbon credits is an utter scam used be rich corporations (and countries) to justify that they are "Green" and adopting carbon neutral polices when in reality all they are doing is continuing as before (or worse) and just papering over reality with money.

      Carbon credits should not be traded but it was devised by rich countries politicians lobbied by huge businesses so that could continue "BAU" and stuff the reality.

  2. wolfetone Silver badge

    "In a statement accompanying the announcement, Brian Marrs, Microsoft's Senior Director for Carbon Removal and Energy, said that DAC plays an important role in Microsoft's carbon removal portfolio to support its broader goal of becoming carbon-negative by 2030."

    Imagine the CO2 that would've been saved if Micro$oft hadn't mandated that Windows 11 couldn't run on older hardware when it was perfectly capable of doing so.

    1. MyffyW Silver badge

      At the risk of sounding like a total Cnut...

      Imagine the CO2 (and energy) saved from not having:

      - Crypto Currency

      - Generative AI

      - Whatever the next flavour of cloudy bollocks is

      I know, I know, I might as well throw my French plimsolls into the machinery. Still it makes one wonder, ne c'est pas?

  3. codejunky Silver badge

    Smart people

    "and the energy supplied through them may still come from fossil fuels on days when there is low wind or solar energy generation."

    Wow the calibre of mind to realise that we need power and not just when the sun is shining or wind blowing.

    1. Steve Button Silver badge

      Re: Smart people

      I think "need" is a bit of a strong word here. When we've made the switch to wind and solar + not built enough nuclear*, and there's a dark and non windy week in December you'll suddenly find that you'll be able to do without just fine. You don't "need" to work, or heat your house or travel. Stock up on candles, blankets and a good book.

      But I guess it'll be domestic users who'll suffer rolling blackouts, not the likes of Azure or AWS? If not I guess a lot of people will be wanting to move workloads into eu-west-3 (Paris) where they have lots of nuclear power stations?

      Anyone want to take a bet on this actually happening in the next 5 years?

      * or in the USA or Germany, deliberately got rid of it all.

      1. Like a badger

        Re: Smart people

        " I guess a lot of people will be wanting to move workloads into eu-west-3 (Paris) where they have lots of nuclear power stations?"

        Well, given the ageing French nuclear fleet, and the problems they had in 2022 when 32 out of 56 reactors were down for faults or scheduled maintenance I'd not want to be too confident on the reliability of their power. Even with proposed life extensions, they can't escape the problems of fleet with an average age around 36 years, and that will be compounded by the problems of having a Europe wide power grid when Germany have shut their 36 reactors, Italy shut down their four, and the loss of 36 reactors in the UK. And all the while they're pushing to make cars run on electricity, and remove gas from heating and power generation.

        Europe has no meaningful energy policy, is not so much sleepwalking but actively striding into a bleak future of self imposed energy shortages and intermittent power supply. To do what they want entirely with renewables would require a ten-fold increase in expenditure over the current plans, and I'm not seeing the money nor the political will.

  4. Mike 137 Silver badge

    Carbon credits

    "the concept has come in for some controversy over the years"

    There's plenty of evidence that it's effectively being operated as a scam. The original concept naively assumed all the players would be honest. But it's become just another notional "compliance" where the talk is not walked -- i.e. the net result is no real overall reduction in emissions.

  5. Rich 2 Silver badge

    Unbelievable bollox

    The idea of “carbon credits” or “carbon trading” is, at best, a most ludicrous idea. And at worse, it’s downright vile and obnoxious (not to mention complete bollox).

    It’s the sort of idea that one would expect to see pop up in Dr. Strangelove - a way of pretending to do something and yet doing absolutely zilch.

    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: Unbelievable bollox

      The idea of “carbon credits” or “carbon trading” is, at best, a most ludicrous idea. And at worse, it’s downright vile and obnoxious (not to mention complete bollox).

      That largely depends on whether you're inside or outside the tent. When Enron went, I looked through it's bankruptcy sale catalogue and it included a lot of woodland. When B.Ebbers Esq went the same way, he'd been buying lots of woodland. Same for a lot of other rich & shameless types who managed to stay solvent and out of jail. But that was largely driven by the sale of carbon offsets. Traders, speculators and outright fraudsters all jumped on the carbon bandwagon and made money creating a slew of financial instruments like carbon credits that could be traded for cash.

      And this is still ongoing with pushes into the retail market via scams.. I mean schemes like Individual Carbon Allowances where we're each allocated an amount of CO2e, and then every transaction we may will be deducted from that. Fancy a nice beefburger? Ok, if you can afford the 5CO2e credits. No? Buy some more! Or maye you'd prefer a nice bugburger instead for only 2CO2e credits. The amount we'll get in our ICA will reduce each year to 'encourage' efficiency. Oh, and you'll be able to sell credits you don't need, for a small fee. Sadly I suspect there will be limits to trading, so I won't be able to buy a steam roller and clear 'Just Stop Oil' roadblocks and claim credits for cutting =>250kg CO2 a year per street pizza.

  6. 9Rune5

    Greenpeace should be ignored

    Any environmentalist who is a vocal opponent of building new nuclear power plants should be completely ignored at this point. They are part of the problem, not the solution.

    1. michaelaubert

      Re: Greenpeace should be ignored

      Then I'm part of the problem. Nuclear generates giant amounts of heat. Not great to reverse climate change.

      It's not as bad as some other fuel-based energy production but that doesn't make it a great target.

      You want to use them for space travel, I'm all for it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Greenpeace should be ignored

        The point would be that waste heat from nuclear < effects of CO2 contribution to atmosphere from equivalent power generation by fossil fuel.

        A lot of opposition to alternatives to fossil fuels (or other fuels that result in CO2 release at the point of generation) seems to be based on the Nirvana fallacy - that the replacement is not perfect and should not be considered.

        Equally it doesn't mean that because an alternative is better than what we have, that we shouldn't try to improve it. eg removing the long life low intensity radioactive waste from the high intensity short life waste so that.

      2. 9Rune5

        Re: Greenpeace should be ignored

        I doubt heat from boiling water is an issue in the greater scheme of things.

        But here is what is going to happen with your approach:

        1) wind turbines and solar will fail (can't run the grid on wind and solar exclusively)

        2) fossil driven plants will remain (and they too boil water btw)

        1. graeme leggett Silver badge

          Re: Greenpeace should be ignored

          I hear using molten salt to be the medium of heat exchange is in the offing.

          One of the benefits is it doesn't need to be pressurised, and so you can (relatively easily) build up a reservoir of hot salt which can then be used to cover the difference between change in demand and the rate at which the reactor can respond

    2. isdnip

      Re: Greenpeace should be ignored

      Nuclear as we know it is not a solution, for the simple reason that the whole supply chain, when you count the energy spent in building the plant to the mining, refining, and disposing of the fuel, ends up being net negative. It is essentially a way to expend a heap of energy now, and in places where refining is done, in order to produce electricity elsewhere later. A transmission grid would make more sense if in fact there is cheap enough power to refine uranium. That's why nuclear energy costs >15c/kwhr and probably much more from a new plant. Far more than solar plus batteries.

      Thorium-cycle reactors might make economic sense but there has been huge resistance to developing that technology, probably led by the industries that hope to profit from uranium fuel.

  7. Snowy Silver badge

    Carbon credits!

    The cheaters way to be carbon neutral :(

  8. michaelaubert

    Even with the benefit of the doubt

    around carbon credit scams, which Microsoft definitely does not deserve, trapping CO2 in underground aquifers doesn't really feel like a good solution either

    "Seismic disruption, land surface distortion and contamination of potable water supplies are the key environmental risks that further affect the ecosystems and human health adversely (Cai et al., 2013)."

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Greenpeace needs to focus on other countries that are doing WAY more population than the US.

    Most Polluted Countries in the World Based on PM2.5 Concentration Globally

    Rank Country PM2.5 Concentration

    1 Bangladesh 79.9

    2 Pakistan 73.7

    3 India 54.4

    4 Tajikistan 49

    5 Burkina Faso 46.6

    6 Iraq 43.8

    7 United Arab Emirates 43

    8 Egypt 42.4

    9 Nepal 42.2

    10 Democratic Republic of Congo 40.8

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      How do you know they are not active there too?

    2. an it guy

      Um, no

      PPM measurements are not necessarily a proxy for large scale emissions. They are a measure of the systems that burn (in)efficiently, and are about how those particles (not molecules) that directly impact human health. Granted high PM2.5 is an indicator of lots of use of fossil fuels (or burning of trees/clearing farmland etc.), and so related to CO2 emissions, but if your power plants are generating CO2, or mining is generating emissions, it's not a direct measurement. Rather it's an indication of how crap the government is at regulating inefficient systems out of existence to improve public health, and often how poor people are to replace those inefficient systems

      CO2 is not measured in PM2.5 as it's much much smaller.

      (boffin hat because I've done a degree spent on trying to store that pain that is hydrogen)

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