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Al Karaki's picture
CEO and Founder 4iAfrica - Insight, Implementation, Innovation, Impact

Experienced project manager, visionary, social innovator and serial entrepreneur who insights, innovates and implements large scale projects for governments, the private sector and civil society...

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  • Dec 11, 2020

Big Tech sees the light..

Amazon, Google and Facebook  are the largest corporate buyers of renewable energy in the US. 

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Dec 11, 2020

These stories make me so conflicted-- on the one hand it's great to see these renewable projects be supported by big companies and it's a necessary step; on the other there's still SO much that each of these individual giants can/should do be minimize their impact on the climate that I'm hesitant to heap on premature praise until they tackle their full lifecycle emissions

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Dec 11, 2020

Hard to know, Matt, whether the "100% Green" claims of Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Apple are hurting more than helping.

All are using Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) to justify their claims, which is analogous to the following:

  1. Your neighbor drives to the store and back in his electric car, then sells you a signed certificate that reads, "I Drove to Store XYZ Without Creating Any Carbon Emissions".
  2. You drive to Store XYZ and back in your gas guzzler, belching clouds of smoke en route.
  3. Home again, you show your certificate to your roommate. "My car is 100% Green!", you exclaim.
  4. After a pause your roommate, who has ridden in your smokey car many times, says "Wha...howzat work?"

Renewables supporters will tell you you were helping the environment by supporting your neighbor, who paid $$$ for his electric car. But obviously, you emitted just as much CO2 as you did driving to Store XYZ without the certificate. At best, you could both claim to have emitted half as much CO2 - but then your neighbor would have paid $$$ for a car that wasn't any cleaner than your gas guzzler!

This environmental shell game is exactly how Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Apple, and other Fortune 500 companies justify their claims of being "100% Green". Worse, it's how 26 states, including California, are claiming they're meeting the goals of their "Renewable Portfolio Standards" - and there's a lot more on the line than a trip to the store.

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