Research Notes

In connection with the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December 2009, the political system has chosen to focus on alternative energy, while totally overlooking the industry that is probably the best in the world at reducing CO2 emissions

Around the world there is an enormous focus on the environment and how to reduce CO2 emissions. Sometimes you get the feeling that the primary focus is on alternative energy sources and what these technologies can do for the environment. It does seem odd that in connection with this enormous climate summit in Copenhagen, where all the world’s top leaders will meet, that they have managed to overlook the industry that most probably can do most for the environment and contribute with the largest CO2 reduction.
Here at Strand Consult we are not in the environment or climate industry, we make a living from analysing the telecom market in many different business areas and our customers are mobile operators from all over the world. We have a very close dialogue with the industry and are constantly analysing future trends and helping operators understand how they can take advantage of new technologies and create a healthy business case. We have been in this business for 14 years and our predictions have always been spot-on.
When it comes to environment, the telecom industry is most probably the one single industry in the world that can do most to improve the environment – we do not believe that any other industry can reduce CO2 emissions as much as the telecom industry can. This is not a claim we have invented, but a fact that we have learnt from the many industry players, including the large infrastructure providers like Ericsson, Nokia Siemens and Alcatel Lucent, that most certainly can document our allegations.
At the annual mobile conference in Barcelona, there was a great deal of focus on this area and it became public knowledge that the CO2 emission in connection with “running” a mobile operator’s customer for one year corresponds to the CO2 emission from driving a car for just one hour. Has your mobile phone ever saved you from a one-hour drive? Mine has.
In the old days we used to send letters, the postman emptied the post box, sorted the mail and delivered the letters. The whole logistic operation of sending a letter from Paris to Hong Kong cost a great deal of energy. Today we send e-mails and use the combination of IT and telecommunication every day to limit distances, make society more effective – and yes – actually use modern technology to help reduce CO2 emissions.
We have compiled a list of six questions that we believe should be included in the debate, 6 questions that we believe the political system and anyone interested in the climate should consider:
1. Why isn’t the political system in close contact with the telecom industry regarding their role in improving the environment?
2. Why isn’t the telecom industry in close contact with the political system to tell them about the opportunities the telecom industry has to improve the environment?
3. Why don’t climate experts have more focus on the telecom industry’s role in the fight to improve the climate? These are people that are heavy users of the Internet, telephony and 21 other products that the telecom industry sells, yet their focus is seldom on the telecom area.
4. Why are people talking about Green ICT but not green telecom? The debate in this area is limited to energy saving electricity plugs, computers that use less electricity and using video conferencing – there is a huge difference between green IT and green telecom.
5. Who should map out the benefits that society gains from a close cooperation with the telecom industry? There is the need for a massive research effort in this area and the results need to be used internationally.
6. Who is going to make an action plan for green telecom and when will they start? This is all about taking advantage of a combination of knowledge and technology to improve the climate – the advantages for society are so enormous that this area ought to be one of the main focus areas of the whole climate debate.
We have difficulty understanding why there is so much focus on large windmills and so little focus on the most effective tool in existence for reducing CO2 emission – the telecom industry. We hope that world leaders will not come to Copenhagen to only hear about windmills and quickly forget the industry that can do the most for the environment – and in the shortest space of time.
Strand Consult believes that the political system needs to start looking at the telecom industry’s central role in the climate debate and ensure that the use of modern telecommunication is high on the agenda when politicians meet in Copenhagen.
You, me, our children and everyone else needs to make a huge effort – an effort where the telecom industry is guaranteed a central role and has some effective tools that we ought to start using already tomorrow.
If you would like more information about this subject please do not hesitate to contact us.

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