Netflix lays out plans to slash its greenhouse gas emissions

May 17, 2021

Netflix set out goals today to limit the damage the company does to the climate. By the end of 2022, it wants to reach “net zero” greenhouse gas emissions. That means it plans to reduce some of its emissions and find ways to offset or capture the rest.

By 2030, Netflix says it plans to cut emissions from its operations and electricity use by 45 percent. That goal roughly lines up with research from leading climate scientists, who have found that greenhouse gas emissions need to fall by about 45 percent globally this decade. But Netflix will eventually need to ramp up efforts to prevent pollution generated by producing and streaming its movies and TV shows.

To meet its deadline next year, the company is primarily relying on offsetting its emissions, a strategy with a checkered history when it comes to how well it actually slows down climate change. Netflix plans to invest in programs dedicated to preserving and restoring ecosystems that naturally store planet-heating carbon dioxide. Efforts to cancel out companies’ carbon footprints by planting trees and preserving forests have failed to substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the past. Netflix, however, says that it has developed a thorough process to vet these kinds of projects, which might include visiting the sites in person or monitoring their progress via satellite. But many environmental advocates have pressured companies to do more to stop polluting in the first place, rather than relying on trees to clean up the mess.

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