How T-Mobile, Verizon and Others Are Fighting the Climate Crisis

What is your mobile carrier doing to prevent the climate crisis? It might not be something you think about too much, but with more and more networks around the world aligning themselves with science-based targets, it’s easier than ever to see if the service you’re paying for is performing. is real action to reduce environmental impact.

In a report released at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Tuesday, the mobile industry body GSMA said that nearly a quarter of the energy (24%) used in the mobile sector comes from renewables. or sources, from 14% in 2020. In addition, 62 carriers worldwide have now committed to rapidly reducing their direct and indirect emissions by 2030, representing 61% of the industry by revenue. This is an increase of 12 networks since the previous report published in April.

The GSMA is leading an industry-wide drive to ensure that carriers reach net zero emissions by 2050. A key metric it uses to measure the ambition of its members is their commitment to curbing global warming. in the world from more than 1.5 degrees Celsius, the target based on science set. of the Paris Agreement.

With the effects of the climate crisis — from floods to wildfires to deadly heat waves — increasingly felt in regions around the world, there is growing pressure on all industries to prioritize the transition to clean energy. and ensure that they play an active role in preserving rather than destroying our ecosystem. The mobile industry is no exception, and some networks do more than others to mitigate their impact on the environment, which can make a difference in where you choose to spend your money.

On the hardware side, phone manufacturers are investing heavily in giving phones a longer lifespan and using more recycled materials in their products. But on the network side, companies are increasingly investing in finding ways to build and operate infrastructure using more efficient methods that are less energy intensive than those used in the past.

The biggest challenge for carriers, said John Giusti, chief regulatory office for the GSMA, is access to renewable energy. “The good news is that the industry is moving forward, with operators now directly purchasing 24% of their electricity from renewable sources, up from 18% in 2021 and 14% in 2020,” he said in the report. . But with carrier demand outstripping supply, governments should help expand access to renewable energy, he added.

Europe and North America, two of the regions most responsible for historical emissions, are leading the way in coming up with ambitious sustainability commitments and actions. “Perhaps it is only fair because these are parts of the world where they are the most advanced climate wise, and therefore they have the best ability to reduce their emissions,” said Steven Moore, head of climate action for the GSMA, in an interview with CNET the week before MWC.

The GSMA report looked at the actions of mobile operators around the world but called T-Mobile as an example of a company that is taking big steps to reduce its carbon footprint in the US. It is the first company in the US wireless sector to set a net zero goal validated by the Science Based Target Initiative covering all of its emissions, including those from the entire supply chain and indirect emissions from purchased electricity. It is also one of the few networks so far to set a net zero target in 2040, instead of 2050.

Meanwhile, its main competitors, Verizon and AT&T have both aligned themselves on the 1.5 degree path, and Verizon has committed to net zero emissions across the board by 2050. Moore said he is not will be surprised if networks in many areas end up reaching net zero earlier than 2050. “Once we start investing, it’s incredible how quickly things can change,” he said.

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