Microsoft and Occidental Petroleum Perpetuate Carbon Offset Scam

Microsoft Corporation loves to tout its ambitious net zero goals and green energy initiatives, but they’re just empty promises.

The company’s artificial intelligence pursuits have created an insatiable thirst for electricity. Microsoft does not disclose how much energy its operations consume, but the company is one of the biggest players in AI, which will significantly increase global energy usage. According to Goldman Sachs:

At present, data centers worldwide consume 1-2% of overall power, but this percentage will likely rise to 3-4% by the end of the decade. In the US and Europe, this increased demand will help drive the kind of electricity growth that hasn’t been seen in a generation. Along the way, the carbon dioxide emissions of data centers may more than double between 2022 and 2030.


But since 2020, the efficiency gains appear to have dwindled, and the power consumed by data centers has risen. Some AI innovations will boost computing speed faster than they ramp up their electricity use, but the widening use of AI will still imply an increase in the technology’s consumption of power. A single ChatGPT query requires 2.9 watt-hours of electricity, compared with 0.3 watt-hours for a Google search, according to the International Energy Agency. Goldman Sachs Research estimates the overall increase in data center power consumption from AI to be on the order of 200 terawatt-hours per year between 2023 and 2030. By 2028, our analysts expect AI to represent about 19% of data center power demand.

Contrary to Microsoft’s claims, renewable energy will not replace hydrocarbons in the near future. The company wants to invest in its AI business while reducing its carbon footprint, but it cannot have it both ways. Microsoft should abandon its unrealistic and unjustified climate goals. Instead, the company is doubling down by investing in carbon credits, a dubious accounting scam that supposedly offsets the company’s greenhouse gas emissions. According to Bloomberg:

Occidental, which is building a carbon-capture portfolio through its subsidiary 1PointFive, plans to build a fleet of plants that suck carbon dioxide directly from the air. Microsoft on Tuesday agreed to buy 500,000 metric tons of credits from the company’s Stratos plant in Texas, which is expected to start up next year.


The deal marks the single largest purchase of credits generated by so-called direct air capture, or DAC — bolstering Occidental’s position in the race to scale and monetize carbon capture technology. For Microsoft, whose push into artificial intelligence has triggered a spike in emissions, such agreements are central to addressing a growing carbon footprint.

Microsoft has grown to rely on carbon credits to maintain a facade of environmental responsibility even as its carbon dioxide emissions have grown, Bloomberg adds:

Microsoft was an early supporter of the burgeoning carbon removal industry, signing major deals with Stockholm Exergi and Orsted A/S to buy CO2 credits generated at power plants. It also inked a deal last year with Heirloom Carbon Technologies Inc. for 315,000 tons of carbon removal. Microsoft is by far the largest investor in carbon removal credits to date, having purchased more than 8 million tons across its portfolio, according to the industry tracker While Microsoft aims to be carbon negative by 2030, its emissions last year were about 30% higher than in 2020 in part due to energy-intensive AI data centers. Microsoft President Brad Smith recently said that if Microsoft is shooting for the moon on decarbonization, the moon is “more than five times as far away as it was in 2020.

Despite substantial subsidies, carbon capture and storage technology faces a myriad of issues including massive expense and dubious workability. Microsoft and Occidental Petroleum are wasting shareholder resources to perpetuate a scam.




Tags: artificial intelligence, Big Tech, carbon capture and storage, carbon dioxide, climate change, Microsoft, Occidental Petroleum, renewable energy