John Woolard, Google: Low carbon is “smartest way forward” for business

Author:
Ilario D'Amato
6 December 2015

John Woolard, Vice President of Energy, Google

PARIS: There’s a smart business case for tackling climate, because “the cost of doing nothing in terms of risk and climate effects is so dramatic that there’s almost no other viable alternative than a low carbon business model,” says John WoolardVice President of EnergyGoogle, in an exclusive Climate TV interview filmed by The Climate Group at COP21 in Paris.

This week, the technology giant joined RE100, a global campaign of The Climate Group in partnership with CDP to support the world’s most influential companies in their switch to 100% renewable energy.

Not only is shifting to a low carbon economy “the smartest way forward,” confirms John Woolard, but makes particular sense to Google, which is “very data-driven. We have almost no choice, when we look at climate data, to decarbonize the power supply.”

TRIPLING COMMITMENTS

Google, which is the largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy in the world, will triple the amount it buys by 2025 – adding a further 842 megawatts of renewable energy through new wind and solar projects around the world.

“When you have to decarbonize,” comments John Woolard, “you want to do it in a thoughtful and methodical way. This is why we are very aggressive on buying large amounts of renewable energy.”

Collaboration is key for a global transition to the new renewables paradigm – and businesses have everything to gain from the journey, according to the VP. “We’re joining RE100 to encourage other businesses to buy large quantities of renewable power,” John Woolard says, because if more companies make the shift it will help “bring technology forward, drive costs down and ultimately get to a much more decarbonized supply – which has to happen if we're going to mitigate the effects of climate change.”

COP21

With the climate negotiations in Paris entering the second, crucial week of discussions, businesses are pushing for an ambitious agreement that will set a robust long-term goal and pathway to the inevitable low carbon economy.

“We think a lot about having long-term, very clear and unambiguous policy,” says Google’s Vice President. “We want guidance. Business is very good at making money and driving things for consumers, for ourselves and for our shareholders – if we know what the rules are.”

Long-term climate goals offer leading companies the predictability they need to be able to build strong, low carbon business strategies. “There’s nothing worse for business than not knowing what’s going to happen in the future from a policy perspective,” affirms John Woolard.

The way forward for every business then, is “to look at what is unique to it and then to move forward very aggressively in delivering that. For Google it has been our ability to procure power and to invest in low carbon power.”

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