The target covers the decade from 2020-30, when the bulk of emissions reductions are expected to come from the switch to renewable electricity
A new science-based target (SBT) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the telecoms sector has been unveiled today, as part of a collaboration between four industry bodies to develop decarbonisation pathways to help ICT companies set emissions targets in line with the latest climate science.
The target - developed by the ITU, GeSI, GSMA, and SBTi - sets sector-specific emissions reductions trajectories over the decade 2020-30 for mobile, fixed-line, and data centre operators in accordance with the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to 1.5C this century. For example, mobile network operators adopting the SBT would be required to reduce emissions by at least 45 per cent by 2030.
The switch towards more renewable and low-carbon electricity is expected to account for the bulk of sector's emissions reductions up to 2030, the mobile industry body GSMA said, alongside efforts by operators to improve energy efficient.
The target will support the GSMA's commitment to help the mobile industry achieve Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050, the body added. Nearly 30 operators representing 30 per cent of global mobile connections are already committed to science-based targets, including industry giants such as America Movil, AT&T, BT, Deutsche Telekom, Orange, and Vodafone. The recommendations, released today, will guide many more industry players in setting emission reduction targets, the GSMA said.
"Today's landmark agreement underlines how the ICT sector is taking urgent and unprecedented action in response to the climate emergency," said Mats Granryd, Director General, GSMA. "The mobile industry is one of the first major sectors in the world to voluntarily set an SBT for emissions reductions. Our sector will form the backbone to the future global economy and has a unique role to play in reaching a Net Zero economy. A decarbonised world will be a digital world, so we must show leadership and take responsibility for driving positive climate action."
The industry-wide goal builds on the pioneering work of the mobile industry led by the GSMA, with more than 50 of the world's biggest operators committing in September last year to disclose their climate impacts, energy, and emissions to investors via the internationally recognised CDP global disclosure system.
The new pathways were welcomed by Gabrielle Ginér, head of environmental sustainability at BT and Chair of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Momentum for Change Advisory Committee, who writing on Twitter said she was "proud to see the sector step up" and urged more businesses across the industry to adopt the new targets.
ICT Industry @GSMA agrees landmark Science-Based pathway to reach net zero emissions https://t.co/WAdFXJDAaJ @BTGroup proud to see the sector step up. we set our 1.5 degree aligned #SBT in September 2017. Let's hope more will follow!— Gabrielle Ginér (@gabrielle_giner) February 27, 2020
New government stats show renewable generation grew by almost five per cent in 2019, while coal, gas and nuclear all experienced declines in output
Members of the commission, which was assembled by the Zero Carbon Campaign, have been drawn from political, scientific, academic and climate policy backgrounds
Leading energy firms aim to bring their expertise in Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage technology to the proposed north-east project
Leading green trade bodies, think tanks, sustainability execs, and corporates throw weight behind inaugural Net Zero Festival