Microsoft Pushes to Squeeze All it Can From the Last of its Climate Fund

When Microsoft Corp. launched its $1 billion Climate Innovation Fund three years ago, it was the lone tech giant pledging serious money to tackle rising temperatures. The dangers facing the planet have since become more acute, and the fund has about $400 million left.

The push is on to make the rest of the money count. To juice the power of its remaining spending, the fund’s directors will target areas set to benefit from the $370 billion in climate spending allocated by the Biden administration’s landmark Inflation Reduction Act.

“The Inflation Reduction Act, even the measures you see out in Europe today, these are great measures to provide policy tailwinds to scale investment and scale investment opportunities,” Melanie Nakagawa, Microsoft’s chief sustainability officer, said in an interview.

Nakagawa joined the company in January from the White House where, as special assistant to President Joe Biden and senior director for climate and energy at the National Security Council, she worked on reversing President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the US from the Paris Agreement to limit global warming. “Having come from the policy world, I'm really eager to go where the tailwinds are and the Inflation Reduction Act is one of the most exciting tailwinds we’ve seen as of late.”

Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft will direct future spending to areas where it’s already active and the IRA is set to get involved, like carbon removal and sustainable aviation fuels. It’ll also align funding with the bill by targeting new areas like green building materials and water, as well as encouraging expansion of renewable energy.