Photo: Wikipedia/Instagram
Photo: Wikipedia/Instagram

On Monday, Google CEO, Sundar Pichai announced that the company had become one the first to eliminate their entire carbon legacy. The company had earlier become carbon neutral in 2007.

"As of today, Google is the 1st major company to eliminate our entire carbon legacy, including before we became carbon neutral in 2007. We’re also proud that by 2030, we aim to operate on 24/7 carbon-free energy in our data centers and campuses worldwide," he tweeted.

In a blog post written by Pichai he adds that going forward, Google is also investing in technologies that will help its partners across the world "make sustainable choices".

But what exactly do these words mean? What is carbon footprint, carbon neutrality and carbon legacy?

To quote the World Health Organization, your “carbon footprint” is a measure of the impact your activities have on the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2 ) produced through the burning of fossil fuels and is expressed as a weight of CO2 emissions produced in tonnes. This can be at an individual level as well as for an organisation, company or group.

Drawing from the same, carbon neutrality would mean that the net release of CO2 into the atmosphere is zero. This is often done by carbon offsetting.

At the same time, carbon legacy is the carbon footprint that a company (or individual) has accrued over the years. While some argue that a a person is responsible for the carbon emissions of their descendants, in the case of a company such as Google it would mean the emissions throughout its lifespan.

And as Pichai wrote in the blog post, "This means that Google's lifetime net carbon footprint is now zero."

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