Carbon is the fourth-most abundant element in the universe, and is also a primary component of all known life on Earth. When combined with oxygen it creates carbon dioxide (CO2). Many industrial activities, including the burning of fossil fuels such as coal and oil, release CO2 into the atmosphere and cause climate change.
As part of Amazon’s efforts to increase sustainability and reduce carbon emissions, we co-founded The Climate Pledge in 2019. Along with the 216 other signatories to the Pledge, we are committed to reaching net-zero carbon by 2040, 10 years ahead of the Paris Agreement. We are driving carbon out of our business in a multitude of ways, as detailed on our Carbon Footprint page. When I share this information with AWS customers, they respond positively. They now understand that running their applications in AWS Cloud can help them to lower their carbon footprint by 88% (when compared to the enterprise data centers that were surveyed), as detailed in The Carbon Reduction Opportunity of Moving to Amazon Web Services, published by 451 Research.
In addition to our efforts, organizations in many industries are working to set sustainability goals and to make commitments to reach them. In order to help them to measure progress toward their goals they are implementing systems and building applications to measure and monitor their carbon emissions data.
Customer Carbon Footprint Tool
After I share information about our efforts to decarbonize with our customers, they tell me that their organization is on a similar path, and that they need to know more about the carbon footprint of their cloud infrastructure. Today I am happy to announce the new Customer Carbon Footprint Tool. This tool will help you to meet your own sustainability goals, and is available to all AWS customers at no cost. To access the calculator, I open the AWS Billing Console and click Cost & Usage Reports:
Then I scroll down to Customer Carbon Footprint Tool and review the report:
Let’s review each section. The first one allows me to select a time period with month-level granularity, and shows my carbon emissions in summary, geographic, and per-service form. In all cases, emissions are in Metric Tons of Carbon Dioxide Equivalent, abbreviated as MTCO2e:
All of the values in this section reflect the selected time period. In this example (all of which is sample data), my AWS resources emit an estimated 0.3 MTCO2e from June to August of 2021. If I had run the same application in my own facilities instead of in the AWS Cloud, I would have used an additional 0.9 MTCO2e. Of this value, 0.7 MTCO2e was saved due to renewable energy purchases made by AWS, and an additional 0.2 MTCO2e was saved due to the fact that AWS uses resources more efficiently.
I can also see my emissions by geography (all in America for this time period), and by AWS service in this section.
The second section shows my carbon emission statistics on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis:
The third and final section projects how the AWS path to 100% renewable energy for our data centers will have a positive effect on my carbon emissions over time:
If you are an AWS customer, then you are already benefiting from our efforts to decarbonize and to reach 100% renewable energy usage by 2025, five years ahead of our original target.
You should also take advantage of the new Sustainability Pillar of AWS Well-Architected. This pillar contains six design principles for sustainability in the cloud, and will show you how to understand impact and to get the best utilization from the minimal number of necessary resources, while also reducing downstream impacts.
Things to Know
Here are a couple of important facts to keep in mind:
Regions – The emissions displayed reflect your AWS usage in all commercial AWS regions.
Timing – Emissions are calculated monthly. However, there is a three month delay due to the underlying billing cycle of the electric utilities that supply us with power.
Scope – The calculator shows Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions, as defined here.