(Reuters) — Alphabet’s Google aims to power its data centers and offices using solely carbon-free electricity by 2030, its chief executive told Reuters, building on its previous goal of matching its energy use with 100% renewable energy.
The “stretch goal,” as CEO Sundar Pichai described it, will force Google to move beyond the tech industry norm of offsetting carbon emissions from electricity use and require technological and political breakthroughs to achieve.
“The problem is so immense, many of us need to lead the way and show solutions,” Pichai said. “We’re one small player in this but we can set an example.”
Wildfires burning a record area in the western United States this month have increased public awareness of climate change, Pichai said, and Google wants to bring further attention through its new goal as well as product features.
Wind, solar and other renewable sources accounted for 61% of Google’s global hourly electricity usage last year. The proportion varied by facility, with carbon-free sources fulfilling 96% of hourly power needs at Google’s wind-swept Oklahoma data center compared with 3% at its gas-reliant Singapore operation.
But Google, which consumes slightly more power annually worldwide than residents and businesses in Delaware, has grown optimistic that it can bridge the gap with batteries to store solar power overnight, emerging sources such as geothermal reservoirs and better management of power needs.
“To plan 24/7 hourly being carbon-free in our data centers and campuses around the world, we see an enormous logistics challenge, which is why we’ve been hard at work modeling the last year how to get there,” Pichai said. “And we feel confident we can get there by 2030.”
He declined to share the likely cost of achieving the goal.
Big Google rivals including Microsoft and Amazon have targeted removing more carbon from the atmosphere than they emit over the coming decades, but none of them have publicly set a goal to stop sourcing carbon-based energy.
But the companies share a common goal of catalyzing businesses and governments to curb climate pollution before 2030, when scientists say global warming could become catastrophic if unchecked.
Jennifer Layke, global director at research group World Resources Institute, which has received Google funding, said the company inspired others in the United States and Europe over the last decade but its efforts must now spur action in crucial polluting regions such as China, India, Indonesia and Vietnam.
“If we can’t shift from carbon, we will suffer the firestorms and the droughts,” she said.
Google has been carbon-neutral since 2007, meaning it has planted trees, bought carbon credits and funded large amounts of wind power in places where it is abundant to offset its tapping of coal and natural gas power in other regions. It also said Monday that its estimated 1 million metric tons of emissions between 2006 and its 1998 launch now have been offset.
The company’s new goals include bringing 5 gigawatts of renewable energy near some suppliers, funding tree planting beyond its offset needs and sharing data or forging partnerships with 500 governments around the world to try to cut 1 gigaton of carbon emissions annually by 2030.
Google said it would continue to offset carbon emissions unrelated to electricity use, such as from employee travel.
Its carbon-free electricity goal satisfies one demand of 2,000 Google employees who last November petitioned the company to stop selling data storage and other cloud computing tools to oil companies and funding think tanks or politicians who deny the existence of climate change.
On Monday, several employees who signed the petition said Google risks undermining its new goals if it keeps supporting customers and politicians exacerbating global warming.
“Today’s announcement is a step in the right direction, but the urgency of the situation demands more,” employees said in a statement.
Pichai said Google would continue to “support everyone” with its cloud services and help oil and gas companies transition to tapping other sources.
(Reporting by Paresh Dave; additional reporting by Valerie Volcovici in Washington; editing by Greg Mitchell, Kim Coghill and Lisa Shumaker)
Utah family sues police, claiming 'gratuitous violence'
The family of a Utah man who was shot at nearly 30 times and killed as he ran from police filed a lawsuit Friday against Salt Lake City and its police department. The family of Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal family allege the officers engaged in “gratuitous violence” by shooting at him between 27 and 29 times after he was already on the ground and incapacitated. “Despite the family’s attempts to negotiate, it is apparent that the SLCPD and the Salt Lake City Mayor’s Office (are) not interested in real reform,” the family’s attorneys wrote in a statement.
Marine Lance Corporal at Large After Fleeing Camp Lejeune
A Camp Lejeune Marine is wanted by authorities after fleeing from the North Carolina base Thursday afternoon, officials said Friday evening.
Lance Cpl. Shawn M. Miller, a field artillery cannoneer with 2nd Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, was last seen around 6 p.m. Thursday in Jacksonville, the town outside Lejeune, according to a news release from 2nd Marine Division.
Officials told Military.com that Miller has not been formally charged, but would not otherwise characterize the circumstances that resulted in his being ordered to pretrial confinement. The release stated that Miller has active warrants in the state of North Carolina.
No description of Miller has been released, nor has information on whether he is believed to be armed. A spokesman with Naval Criminal Investigative Service, which is handling the investigation into Miller, told Military.com the investigation was ongoing and no other information was immediately available.
“If you believe you know of Lance Cpl. Miller’s whereabouts, please contact local law enforcement officials,” 2nd Marine Division said in the statement.
— Gina Harkins contributed.
— Hope Hodge Seck can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at @HopeSeck.
‘Father of the Bride’ Cast Reunites After 25 Years for Pandemic Wedding
After 25 years, the “Father of the Bride” family reunited on screen, with additional members, for “Father of the Bride Part 3 (ish)” streaming exclusively on Netflix’s YouTube channel and Facebook page on Friday.
The film, a remake of the 1950 original movie of the same name, tells the story of George Banks (Steve Martin), who has to come to terms with his daughter Annie (Kimberly Williams-Paisley) getting married and moving out. Diane Keaton plays his wife, Nina.
The reunion, introduced by Reese Witherspoon, was to benefit the World Central Kitchen, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing meals to communities affected by disasters, such as the coronavirus pandemic.
Called together by the Banks’ son, Matty (Kieran Culkin), for a special wedding announcement, the family gathered for a Zoom call. Along with Martin, Keaton, Williams-Paisley and Culkin, George Newbern and Martin Short reprised their roles as Annie’s husband Bryan MacKenzie and over-the-top European wedding planner Franck Eggelhoffer, respectively. All grown up, Georgie (Ben Platt) and Megan (Florence Pugh), the MacKenzie’s children, also appeared on the call.
Newcomers included Rachel (Alexandra Shipp), a doctor on the frontlines of the pandemic and Matty’s fiancé, and Robert De Niro, Rachel’s father, James.
Netflix teased the reunion event Wednesday morning with a short video posted on Twitter, depicting a screen-recorded video of George checking his emails, which included messages about his recent mask order, Annie’s digitized wedding photos and a reminder for a family video call on Sept. 25.
As the family catches up, viewers experience proper nostalgia as George assumes his overprotective fatherly ways, checking in with the family about their cleaning rituals and the status of the thousand masks he sent them, and stressing the importance of disinfecting absolutely everything. When his family assures him there’s no need to worry, he explains he has never had to cope with such a stressful time — well, not since Annie’s wedding.
So, naturally, when Matty announces he called the family together for a surprise online wedding to Rachel, who just finished a 24-hour shift and is quarantining in a hotel room, George freezes on screen — and not as a result of technical difficulties. Once he processes his shock, and irritation with James for getting out of having to pay for an expensive wedding, the festivities commence.
Rachel and Matty recite their vows, mimicking officiant Franck’s thick accent. As the wedding commences, Rachel is directed to find a bouquet of flowers from the minibar and her mother’s wedding ring.
Montages of the films play throughout the Zoom call, and during the wedding, George narrates, “We parents never fully see our children as grownups. We look at them and can still see the little kid they used to be. The memories of all those moments we shared stay with us. Not just the big ones, the ones we all have photos of, but the little ones — it’s especially those memories, the ones you’d think you’d forget over time that we treasure the most.”
Once Matty and Rachel are pronounced husband and wife, Franck’s Zoom background explodes in fireworks and music swells in tune to the joyous moment. Following George’s toast, which emphasizes his happiness at finally having a doctor in the family, Georgie performs a rendition of Frank Sinatra’s “The Way You Look Tonight,” bringing the celebration to a close.
Throughout the reunion special, a banner prompted viewers to donate at wck.org/father.
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