On this Earth Day, it's time to move beyond debating climate change and get to work rolling up our sleeves and tapping the best and brightest minds so we can tackle this challenge. For too long, taking action on climate change has been the can kicked down the road because some feared solving this problem could hinder economic growth. However, for the past two years, carbon emissions have fallen, while GDP has increased. The tech sector continues to believe there are opportunities to be found in the challenge.
It is encouraging to see more than 150 countries come together to sign the Paris climate change agreement. This development could not come soon enough, since 2016 is on pace to go down as the hottest year on record. We know governments alone cannot solve this problem. Like all challenges, it will take human ingenuity and industry to identify innovative solutions. The tech sector has a key role in both combatting climate change and mitigating its negative effects, and we have committed to doing so. Technology companies know that we can innovate and help create solutions to the challenges posed by climate change.
More and more businesses are committed to protecting our environment. This past November, more than 150 companies signed the White House’s American Business Act on Climate Pledge. 21 of those companies are ITI member companies that understand we need to accelerate the development of clean energy and “Smart” solutions to confront the mounting issues that climate change is creating.
Tech companies are deeply committed to pioneering sustainable power sources in an environmentally responsible way. For example, Apple is running all of its U.S. operations on 100% renewable energy, bringing an estimated 280 megawatts of clean power generation online by the end of 2016 through investments here in the U.S. (Arizona, California, Nevada, North Carolina and Oregon) and in Sichuan Province, China. Another bold initiative has come from Google, which has committed to powering its operations with 100% renewable energy. Microsoft is committed to purchasing 100% renewable energy for the operations of its datacenters, offices, labs, and manufacturing facilities. These ITI companies and others will be participating in the upcoming 7th Clean Energy Ministerial in San Francisco.
Bold action is required when it comes to tackling the impacts of climate change. Fortunately, the tech sector is not fond of the status quo and our willingness to be bold in order to solve the most important issues facing humanity can help shape a brighter future for all of us. We look forward to doing our part to combat climate change through our products and services including, launching smart transportation systems and smart cities that improve the quality of life and efficiency of our society, and promoting ground-breaking research and development to transition the world to a vibrant, sustainable, low-carbon economy.