Microsoft carbon price funds Reef project

By AAP Newswire

A tech giant's own price on carbon will fund a new way to study how the Great Barrier Reef is responding to climate change.

Microsoft believes pricing carbon is the best way to reduce dangerous emissions and it uses the money raised to fund environmental projects.

"From an economics perspective, we believe that pricing carbon is the right way to incentivise all sectors to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions," Microsoft chief environment officer Lucas Joppa told AAP.

"It's something we care quite deeply about ... and we've embedded it into our business."

Microsoft began pricing carbon in 2012 by taxing each of its departments for its emissions.

On Tuesday the company nearly doubled its price to US$15 per tonne.

The funds raised offset the company's emissions and pay for renewable energy projects and environmental research.

Australia's productivity commission in 2017 recommended the federal government reintroduce a price on carbon but neither the coalition nor Labor have committed to such a policy.

Under Microsoft's AI for Earth program six Australia researchers will be able to expand their green projects more quickly.

One grant will allow high-quality drone images of the Great Barrier Reef to be processed seven times quicker, allowing more frequent surveys to be conducted.

Reef researcher Felipe Gonzalez, an associate professor at QUT and the Australian Centre for Robotic Vision, said his project would allow for a better understanding of coral bleaching and the Reef's health.

"If you survey the area regularly, you can monitor changes more rapidly and make informed decisions," he told AAP.

Federal Labor's climate change spokesman Mark Butler said that government data shows carbon emissions have risen in Australia since 2013 and will continue rising until 2030.

"It's no surprise corporations are looking to fill the Liberals' climate void," he said in a statement.

Environment Minister Melissa Price was contacted for comment.