Technology behemoth Microsoft, based in the United States (U.S.), made its position on corporate sustainability clear with a bold pledge late January – to be carbon negative by 2030, and further, a 2050 goal to eliminate all of the carbon the company has introduced since its inception in 1975.

Many companies have started with pledges of carbon neutrality, but Washington-based Microsoft has set a far more challenging goal.

Or, as Microsoft president Brad Smith calls it in his January 16 company blog post: “[the] world’s next moonshot.”

Smith urges agreement with lead climate scientists that the world population must take immediate action to curb the 2 trillion metric tons of greenhouse gas that humans introduced into the atmosphere since the First Industrial Revolution of the 18th century .

Writes Smith, climate experts agree that humanity must eventually reach a net zero emissions goal – meaning that the global population must remove the same amount of carbon that it releases each year.

“‘This will take aggressive approaches, new technology that doesn’t exist today, and innovative public policy,’” he writes.

“‘It is an ambitious – even audacious – goal, but science tells us that it’s a goal of fundamental importance to every person alive today and for every generation to follow.’”

How will the company achieve their goals?

Senior associate and carbon capture expert James Mulligan of the World Resources Institute’s (WRI) Food, Forests, and Water Program recently told that Microsoft’s target is challenging but completely necessary on a global scale to preserve the planet.

Further, Mulligan added, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) indicates that humans must oust billions of tons of carbon dioxide from the earth’s atmosphere by 2050 to prevent the rise in global temperature.

“We need not only Microsoft to be doing this, but other companies and governments at the national, state, and local levels,” he told

Currently the technology to do so exists but is insufficient for the goal at hand; there must be more technologies, and they must also be less expensive.

To read more about Microsoft’s pledge:

Written by Nicole Foulke