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ICT sector sets 2030 emission-reduction targets

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ITU secretary-general Houlin Zhao.
ITU secretary-general Houlin Zhao.

The ICT industry has committed to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 45% from 2020 to 2030.

This, according to a statement, is line with a new International Telecommunication Union (ITU) standard, which highlights compliance with the Paris Agreement.

The ITU says its standard supports ICT companies in reducing GHG emissions at the rate necessary to meet the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

In addition, the recommended emission-reduction targets are the first targets specific to the ICT industry to be approved by the Science Based Target Initiative (SBTi).

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

According to the statement, the ITU standard – ITU L.1470: GHG emissions trajectories for the ICT sector compatible with the UNFCCC Paris Agreement – was developed in collaboration with the Global Enabling Sustainability Initiative, GSMA and SBTi.

ITU L.1470 puts forward emission-reduction trajectories for operators of mobile networks, fixed networks and data centres. The standard and associated guidance will support operators in setting targets aligned with the latest climate science, the ‘science-based targets’ recognised by SBTi.

Twenty-nine operator groups representing 30% of the mobile connections worldwide are already committed to science-based targets, reports GSMA.

These groups include AT&T, BT, Bharti Airtel, Orange, Telefónica, Safaricom, T-Mobile US, Verizon and Vodafone.

“The shift to renewable and low-carbon energy is expected to account for the majority of the ICT industry’s GHG emission reductions over the 2020-2030 timeframe.

“ICT companies will also continue to achieve greater energy efficiency, incentivised by associated cost savings as well as revenue-generation opportunities stemming from ICTs’ increasing ability to improve energy efficiency in other industry sectors,” the statement concludes.

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