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Monday, July 15, 2024

Google’s GHG Emissions Surge 48% from 2019 to 2023 Due to AI

Google's greenhouse gas emissions rose sharply by 48% over four years, driven by AI expansion, increased data center energy use, and supply chain impacts, reaching 14.3 million tons CO2e in 2023.

Google’s greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) increased 48% between 2019 and 2023, primarily due to increases in the use of artificial intelligence (AI), data center energy consumption, and supply chain emissions.

The US-based global tech major’s total GHG emissions amounted to 14.3 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2023, which is a 13% increase from the previous year, according to the firm’s 2024 Environmental Report.

“Overall, our total GHG emissions increased by 13%—highlighting the challenge of reducing emissions while compute intensity increases and we grow our technical infrastructure investment to support this AI transition,” said the report released Tuesday.

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“We maintained a global average of approximately 64% carbon-free energy across our data centers and offices from 2022 to 2023—despite growth in electricity demand over this period,” it added.

The company said it aims to run on 24/7 carbon-free energy on every grid it operates by 2030 and reduce half of its combined emissions by 2030, compared to 2019.

The use of AI, however, still affects emissions and reducing those could be difficult, according to the company.

“As we further integrate AI into our products, reducing emissions may be challenging due to increasing energy demands from the greater intensity of AI compute, and the emissions associated with the expected increases in our technical infrastructure investment,” the report said.