Google’s carbon emissions jump 50% amid growing AI demand

In this post:

  • Data centres are the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions.
  • The increase in GHG emissions is fueled by the rising demand for AI services.
  • Google says its commitment to achieving net zero emissions by 2030, “won’t be easy.”

Google has revealed that its carbon emissions jumped 50% in the past five years on the back of increased data center energy consumption. This is despite Google’s plan of achieving net-zero emissions by 2030.

Also read: Japan Estimates a Steep Spike in Energy Needs Due to AI and Data Centers

The search engine giant revealed in its annual environmental report that Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions increased 13% in 2023 compared to previous year reaching 14.3 metric tonnes.

Data centers lead the emissions

The tech firm indicated in the report that its electricity consumption at data centers and supply chain emissions were the major contributors and cause for the increase. According to Google, this increase mirrors the challenges the industry faces in reducing emissions at a time compute intensity increases.

Data centers alone recorded a 17% increase in energy consumption in 2023, “despite maintaining a 100% global renewable energy match.”

“In spite of the progress we’re making, we face significant challenges that we’re actively working through,” said chief sustainability officer Kate Brandt and senior vice president Benedict Gomes in the report.

“As we further integrate AI into our products, reducing emissions may be challenging due to increasing energy demands from greater intensity AI compute.”

Google report.

According to RTT News, Google’s data center energy consumption at over 24TWh in 2023 translates to 7% to 10% of data center energy consumption globally. This also accounts for about 0.1% of the global energy demand.

Google has made substantial investments into the growing AI industry, contributing to increased energy consumption.

Google is not the only company facing this challenge

Google has indicated that its plans to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2030 “won’t be easy,” and this is a challenge confronting the whole industry. Microsoft recently revealed in a sustainability report that that its GHG emissions last year surged 29% from 2020 and it “continues to invest in infrastructure needed to advance new technologies.”

OpenAI fueled the AI race since the launch of its ChatGPT in November 2022. Google and Microsoft rank among the tech firms that have been front runners in this race.

Also read: Google AI Overviews’ health search errors raises concerns

The increased demand in AI services has significantly contributed towards an increased energy consumption. Studies have also shown that tech firms’ water consumption is also increasing to cool generative AI servers.

However, according to the report, Google emphasized its commitment to responsible AI development to address its environmental footprint through efficient infrastructure and emissions reductions.

Amazon has also highlighted it is aiming to be carbon neutral by 2040, while Microsoft is targeting 2050.

Cryptopolitan reporting by Enacy Mapakame

Disclaimer. The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decisions.

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