Google recently announced that it will spend more than $2 billion on a brand new, “1,600 megawatt package” of renewable energy infrastructure in the United States, South America and Europe, Engadget reports.
The project will include the construction of millions of solar panels and hundreds of wind turbines across all three continents, according to a statement by Google. Its “renewable energy fleet” currently includes 52 projects, “driving more than $7 billion in new construction and thousands of related jobs;” its renewable energy portfolio will also increase by more than 40 percent. Google also says that it will not buy any power from existing wind and solar farms, and will continue its commitment to developing new projects.
In a statement, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said that the company has been carbon neutral since 2007, and matched its “entire annual electricity consumption with renewable energy” in 2017 and 2018, making it “the largest corporate buyer of renewable energy in the world.”
All That Glitters Isn’t Green
While Pichai appears proud of Google’s commitment to clean energy, Google employees aren’t entirely impressed. According to Engadget, hundreds of employees have criticized Google for “not taking the environment seriously enough,” especially considering the company’s carbon footprints at its data centers, and investing in lawyers who vote against climate change.
An article by Medium cited a petition that over 2,000 Google employees signed to sway the company to better support climate change. The employees stated that they stand in solidarity with the climate goals outlined by Amazon Employees for Climate Justice, which include:
- Zero emissions by 2030
- Zero contracts for fossil fuels companies to accelerate oil and gas extraction
- Zero funding for climate denying lobbyists and politicians
- Zero harm to climate refugees and frontline communities
Those employees also joined employees from Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook and Twitter for the Global Climate Strike that took place on Sept. 20.
According to the petition, all employees are hopeful that their employers seriously consider their roles in minimizing their carbon footprints, and in leading the charge to keeping the planet green. “As individuals, we may feel alone in facing climate change. But if we act together…we can build a better future,” they said.