Google’s carbon emissions spike almost 50% amid rising AI energy demands

Author: Editorial
event 10.07.2024.
Foto: Shutterstock

“Reducing emissions may be challenging due to the greater intensity of AI compute, and the emissions associated with increased investment in technical infrastructure,” Google wrote in its annual report.

Google’s carbon emissions have surged by nearly 50% since 2019, according to the company’s 2024 environmental report released last week, representing a serious setback to its goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2030. The report also revealed a 13% increase in emissions year over year in 2023.

The tech giant attributed this rise to increased energy consumption in data centers and supply chain emissions, driven by rapid advancements in and demand for artificial intelligence. Specifically, Google’s total data center electricity consumption grew by 17% in 2023.

The link between AI and rising electricity demand is well documented, with forecasts suggesting a potential 20% increase in electricity demand by 2030. AI data centers in the U.S. alone are expected to add approximately 323 TWh (terawatt hours) of electricity demand, as previously reported by CNBC.

While renewable energy is expected to play a crucial role in meeting these energy demands, analysts highlight challenges in immediate implementation. These challenges include the time required to build the necessary infrastructure to transport resources to data centers, as noted by Wells Fargo analyst Roger Read.

Despite these hurdles, Google reported that its data centers are 1.8 times more energy-efficient than typical data centers. The company remains committed to reducing the environmental impact of AI through model optimization, efficient infrastructure, and emissions reductions.

Google is not alone in facing increased emissions due to AI demand. In May, Microsoft reported a nearly 30% increase in total carbon emissions since 2020, primarily due to data center construction.


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