I was recently at a roundtable meeting with Connie Hedegaard, the European Commissioner for Climate Action and many companies representing the financial, manufacturing, technology and transport sectors and NGOs. Part of the discussion was on the EU’s carbon emissions reduction target for 2020 and a move from 20% to 30%.
It is clear in my mind that economic experts within the European Council of Ministers with the European Commission are currently working hard to determine what that reduction target number should be. The impetus behind the move goes beyond removing the CO2 that is causing climate change; it is also an effort to stimulate economic growth, efficiencies and innovation—all effects Microsoft supports very much.
It is no easy task to determine what this target should be. However, as we’ve discussed directly with European policymakers on this issue, Microsoft will fully support the decision by the EU should it set a more ambitious climate target. Despite our membership in other business associations—some who may have concerns with increasing the target—we feel it is important to speak with our own voice on this issue.
Microsoft has stated that climate change is a serious issue that demands immediate, worldwide attention, and we are acting accordingly. We are pursuing strategies and taking actions that are consistent with a strong commitment to reducing our own impact as well as the impact of our products. In addition, we have adopted a broad policy statement on climate change that expresses support for government action to create market-based mechanisms to address climate change. And, we believe the greatest value Microsoft brings to the fight against climate change is our expertise on the role software and technology can play in reducing carbon emissions. To this end, Microsoft is working with groups ranging from the Digital Energy Solutions Campaign to the World Wildlife Fund to the European Environmental Agency to advance public policies that promote the use of Information Communications Technology (ICT) solutions to advance energy efficiency, spur innovation and economic opportunity, and contribute to practical strategies for mitigating climate change.