5G essential for Europe to achieve climate targets
The ‘Connectivity and climate change’ report, takes data sources and methodologies from the communications technology and service provider’s prior research on 5G use cases, and research from operators on the environmental footprint of telecommunications networks, plus the McKinsey ‘Net zero Europe’ report.
The study indicates that implementing 5G technology across four high-emitting sectors (transport, manufacturing, buildings and power) could save 55-170 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e) of emissions per year – comparable to removing over 35 million petrol cars from the EU’s roads.
The findings also calculated that at least 40% of the EU’s carbon reduction solutions are expected to rely on fixed-line and mobile connectivity up until 2030. Ericsson suggests that these solutions, including the deployment of renewable energy generators, could reduce EU emissions by 550MtCO2e – nearly 50% of the emissions created by the entire EU energy supply sector in 2017, and 15% of the EU’s total annual emissions in 2017, the year chosen as a comparison for the analysis.
Calculated together with the savings from using 5G in four high-emitting sectors (power, transport, manufacturing and building), could bring the total emissions reduction to nearly 20% of the EU’s total annual emissions in 2017, the same as the total of annual emissions of Spain and Italy together.
For example, the report said that by 2030, sensor-driven improvements in renewable energy generation and deployment could save up to 75MtCO2e in transport, 55MtCO2e through improved truck utilisation, 35MtCO2e in manufacturing by the use of sensor-driven efficiency improvement in factories, and flexible and remote working enabled by 5G connectivity bringing 5MtCO2e in building.
“The EU and UK have set ambitious targets to reduce carbon emissions that will require transformational shifts across society,” said Ericsson president and CEO Börje Ekholm.
“This new analysis demonstrates that connectivity, and specifically 5G, is vital to achieving these decarbonisation targets. It is difficult to see how these targets will be met unless the roll-out of digital infrastructure across Europe accelerates to match that of other leading countries and regions in the developed world.
“At Ericsson we view sustainability as a vital responsibility, not an optional extra,” he said. “We will continue to invest heavily, not just for our customers through energy-efficiency products and solutions, but in our own operations, just as we have done at our 5G Smart Factory in the US. It is a great example of the emission saving results that can be achieved through implementing 5G in manufacturing.
“At present, with 5G roll-out, Europe is strolling towards a more digital, low-carbon future, while other regions are sprinting in the same direction,” said Ekholm.
“Policymakers and regulators have a major role to play here by realising the competitive economic, social and sustainable potential of 5G and working speedily together to clear practical, regulatory and financial obstacles so that people, businesses, industries and societies right across Europe can enjoy the benefits,” he concluded.
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