AT&T has launched the Connected Climate Initiative, a collaborative effort to reduce emissions among businesses by a gigaton relative to 2018 levels by 2035. The initiative builds on AT&T’s commitment last year to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2035. CCI parallels Walmart’s Project Gigaton, which aims to avoid one billion metric tons of emissions globally by 2030.
Global emissions totalled 34 gigatons in 2020. One gigaton is equal to approximately 15% of US greenhouse gas emissions and nearly 3% of global energy-related emissions in 2020.
AT&T has demonstrated it is capable of delivering on its pledges. Between 2018 and 2020, the telecommunications company helped its business partners reduce their emissions by more than ??72 million metric tons of CO2e using “smart IoT and edge-computing technologies.”
The International Panel on Climate Change’s Sixth Assessment Report stated that “limit[ing] human-induced global warming” requires “reaching at least net zero CO2 emissions.” In the interest of staving off the worst effects of climate change, governments may begin implementing stricter emissions reduction policies. By adopting a carbon phase-out voluntarily, businesses secure a head start if and when these policies come to pass.
AT&T’s CEO highlighted that scaling back emissions also presents businesses with an opportunity to “accelerate digital transformation [and] improve business operations.”
Key technologies in this effort include renewable energy, 5G, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, broadband, and energy-efficient digital infrastructure.
More than half of Fortune Global 200 companies have already adopted targets for partial or total elimination of greenhouse gas emissions while nearly a quarter have pledged to achieve carbon neutrality.
Initial collaborators include Microsoft, Equinix, Duke Energy, RMI and Texas A&M University.