ICT industry to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 45% by 2030

Monday, 02 March, 2020

ICT industry to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 45% by 2030

The ICT industry will need to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 45% over the next decade if it’s going to help limit global warming to 1.5°C above industrial levels, according to a new International Telecommunication Union (ITU) standard.

The recommended emission-reduction targets are designed to align with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Paris Agreement and are said to be the first ICT industry-specific targets to be approved by the Science Based Target Initiative (SBTi).

ITU standard L. 1470 contains “emission-reduction trajectories for operators of mobile networks, fixed networks and data centres” and aims to support operators in setting SBTi-compatible goals, the union explained.

It’s supported by a document titled: ‘Guidance for ICT Companies setting Science-Based Targets’.

“This new ITU standard offers authoritative guidance on the pathway towards net zero emissions for the ICT industry,” ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao said.

“The standard is an example of what can be achieved with good collaboration between key partners. It represents a significant contribution to the international effort in pursuit of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.”

Already, 29 operator groups representing 30% of mobile connections worldwide have committed to science-based targets, ITU believes.

“These groups include América Móvil, AT&T, BT, Bharti Airtel, Deutsche Telekom, Elisa, Far Eastone, KPN, Magyar Telekom, NTT DOCOMO, Orange, Proximus, Reliance Jio Infocomm, Safaricom, Singtel, SK Telecom, STC, Swisscom, T Mobile USA, Taiwan Mobile, TDC, Tele2, Telefónica, Telekom Austria, Telenor, Telia Company, Telstra, Verizon and Vodafone,” it said.

The shift to renewable and low-carbon energy is expected to account for the majority of the ICT industry’s GHG emission reductions in 2020–2030, ITU said. ICT companies will also continue improving energy efficiencies, incentivised by associated cost savings and revenue-generation opportunities stemming from the industry’s increasing ability to boost energy efficiency in other sectors, ITU predicted. 

ITU L. 1470 was developed in collaboration with the Global Enabling Sustainability Initiative, GSMA and SBTi and is managed by the ITU-T standardisation study group for ‘environment, climate change and circular economy’, ITU-T Study Group 5.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/cienpies

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