Google's New Year's resolution is good for all of us.
If Google was at a holiday party with the rest of the Fortune 500 companies, it would definitely have a New Year's resolution worth bragging about.
The company intends to be powered entirely be renewable energy in 2017.
Now those other Fortune 500 companies might go, "Hold on, Google, not so fast. We know you're one heck of an impressive tech company, but you employ over 60,000 people all over the world! Think you might want to set a more realistic goal?"
To which Google would probably say, "Nah, I'm good."
Of course, this isn't the kind of goal you hit overnight. Google has been laying the groundwork to hit this "landmark moment" for years.
According to a post on Google's blog by senior vice president of technical infrastructure, Urs Hölzle, Google is the largest corporate buyer of renewable energy in the world. Last year, the company purchased 44% of the power needed to run the entire company from solar and wind farms, but it began pursuing renewable energy much earlier than that.
In 2010, Google contracted with 114-watt wind farm in Iowa. The company also became one of three investors of the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System (ISEGS), the world's largest solar power tower plant back in 2011. Oh and no big deal, but Google's been working toward carbon neutrality (meaning its energy production cancels out its emissions) since 2007.
So yeah, you could say Google had a bit of a head start on its 2017 New Year's resolution.
If you're thinking this is the kind of initiative that only a company like Google can do because Google has a ton of money and renewable energy is expensive, think again.
According to Google's extensive environmental report, the cost of wind and solar energy has dropped 60%-80% over the last six years. So not only is that 2017 renewable energy goal good for the planet, it's good for their business as well. And if there's anything most companies can get behind, it's saving money.
All in all, Google has invested more than $2.5 billion in renewable energy sources all over the world and also works to help other organizations lower their emissions as part of its commitment to doing whatever it can to combat the very real threat climate change poses to our planet.
Google isn't alone in trying to make a shift toward renewable energy. Microsoft reports that its been carbon neutral since 2012. Pearson, the world's largest education company has been committed to total carbon neutrality since 2009, and has maintained it ever since. And that's just two of 100 companies in the United States that have committed to operating on 100% renewable energy sources in the next few years.
According to data collected by the Climate Group, if companies worldwide committed to this endeavor, global carbon emissions would drop by 15%.
In cleaning up their energy acts, companies like Google, Microsoft, and Pearson are setting a great example for other companies worldwide to follow.
It will take a certain amount of initiative, especially from smaller companies, to make a full shift to renewable energy. Even Google is facing some challenges in meeting its 2017 goal. For one, its data centers require the most amount of energy, and even though use of artificial intelligence has cut the need down by 15%, needs keep mounting.
Google is determined to keep pushing forward, facing each new challenge as it arises because combatting climate change is a marathon, not a sprint. And thanks to the climate summit in Paris in 2015, more countries' industries are taking up similar emissions pledges.
The clean energy gauntlet has been thrown by some of the most influential companies in the world. Hopefully their resolutions will inspire others who don't want to be left behind in the pollution dust.