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GSMA urges use of smart tech in the race to net zero

The GSMA has called on business leaders and policymakers to harness the potential of mobile connectivity and smart technology to achieve net zero by 2050 and limit global heating to within 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.

Smart technology could contribute 40% of the required carbon emissions savings for the world’s net zero goals.

These connected technologies already exist. But new research from the GSMA, backed by the Carbon Trust, shows mobile connectivity and smart technology are significantly underused by energy-intensive industries, such as power and manufacturing.

In the energy sector, connected technology is only used in around 35% of solar grids and 10% of wind grids globally. Around 5% of the manufacturing sector uses connected technology. And yet, these technologies could help fulfil almost 40% of the cuts required in carbon emissions by 2030, if these industries are to reach net zero by 2050.

GSMA’s Director General, Mats Granryd, said: “The risk is that without smart technology used widely, the world will miss 2050 net zero commitments. Business leaders and policymakers must act now to harness the power of mobile technology and connectivity as a key lever in the global race to net zero.

“As low and zero-carbon technology evolves, people might think we will need to rely on future technology solutions to meet net zero goals. At the GSMA, we disagree. We believe that many of the smart tools and technology needed to drive down carbon emissions, especially in the energy sector, already exist – they just aren’t being used to their full potential.”

The GSMA research focuses on four energy-intensive industries, including energy, transport, buildings, and manufacturing. It shows how increased connectivity and mobile technology can enable global savings of around 11 gigatonnes of carbon emissions by 2030. These savings are the same as decommissioning 2,700 coal-fired power stations.

As political and business leaders from across the world convened in Glasgow for COP26, the GSMA encourages leaders to consider its latest research that shows how existing technology can dramatically reduce carbon emissions and increase energy efficiency. The findings assume halving emissions by 2030, as called for by the ‘Exponential Roadmap Initiative’, in line with limiting global heating to 1.5°C.

Carbon Trust’s CEO, Tom Delay said: “This new analysis by GSMA on the enablement effect of increasing connectivity across four energy-intensive industries, builds on previous research by the Carbon Trust. It highlights the crucial role that smart and mobile technology can play in cutting carbon emissions and makes clear that much of the technology already exists – it just needs to be rolled out at scale across industries.”


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