Google says it will no longer build custom artificial intelligence tools for speeding up oil and gas extraction, separating itself from cloud computing rivals Microsoft and Amazon.
A statement from the company followed a Greenpeace report that documents how the three tech giants are using AI and computing power to help oil companies find and access oil and gas deposits in the U.S. and around the world.
The environmentalist group says Amazon, Microsoft, and Google have been undermining their own climate change pledges by partnering with major oil companies including Shell, BP, Chevron, and ExxonMobil that have looked for new technology to get more oil and gas out of the ground.
Google said it will honor all existing contracts with its customers but didn’t specify what companies. A Google cloud executive had earlier in May revealed the new policy during a video interview.
Amazon responded to the Greenpeace report by directing reporters to their website. “We will continue to provide cloud services to companies in the energy industry to make their legacy businesses less carbon intensive and help them accelerate development of renewable energy businesses,” the corporate website says. “We support sustainability programs for our own business, and work with partners to reduce their demand for carbon fuel sources.”
Microsoft issued a statement on its blog. “The reality is that the world’s energy currently comes from fossil fuels and, as standards of living around the world improve, the world will require even more energy,” the company said. “That makes realizing a zero-carbon future one of the most complex transitions in human history.” The tech giant also emphasized its plan to become carbon negative.