Earth Day 2022: How Connectivity is Key for Climate Solutions & Resiliency

Jeff Dygert, AVP, Public Policy
April 22, 2022
Community Impact, Innovation and Technology


Earth Day 2022: How Connectivity is Key for Climate Solutions & Resiliency

This year’s Earth Day is a good time to examine how, in the face of climate change, technology innovation is critical to meeting our global climate goals. The world needs to find new, cleaner ways to power homes and offices, move goods and people, manufacture products and grow food. Here at AT&T, we know that connectivity is part of the solution. We also know Earth Day is a time to act boldly in the face of climate change. That’s why, by harnessing the potential of 5G and further expanding broadband access and solutions, we believe that we can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and speed the growth and recovery of the global economy — helping families, businesses, and the planet.

In 2020, AT&T committed to become carbon neutral across our entire global operations by 2035. And last year, we set a new, bold goal for AT&T connectivity to help businesses avoid 1 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions by 2035 – the equivalent of almost 3% of the world’s energy-related emissions in 2020.

Meeting global climate goals like our Gigaton Goal requires collaboration on a massive scale, and that’s why we established our Connected Climate Initiative (CCI). It brings together leaders across technology companies, universities, and nonprofits to deliver and scale 5G and other broadband-enabled smart climate solutions. Through the CCI, we plan to expand businesses’ use of broadband-enabled climate solutions, including 5G, by identifying best practices, exploring new product ideas, and scaling the innovations of startups.

Connectivity and 5G have the potential to help scale innovative smart climate solutions, including opportunities to deliver smart cities, buildings, agriculture, and manufacturing. We are funding research by leading universities to further explore the role of 5G in addressing change, including with these key collaborators:

  • The University of Missouri is exploring how AT&T 5G could help reduce energy consumption and emissions from buildings.
  • The Purdue Research Foundation is working in its Indiana 5G Zone Lab to explore how AT&T 5G can reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the manufacturing industry.
  • The Texas A&M’s RELLIS Campus is investigating how AT&T 5G can help speed emissions reduction in transportation and other industries with large carbon footprints.

We’re also making smarter, climate-informed decisions to strengthen our network and operations against the threats of tomorrow. After a successful pilot in four states, we are working with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory to expand our Climate Change Analysis Tool (CCAT) to the rest of the contiguous U.S. so we can identify potential impacts of climate change on our infrastructure and operations up to 30 years in the future. Upon completing this expansion, CCAT will include data on inland and coastal flooding, high-intensity winds, droughts, and wildfires. We will continue to make the climate datasets powering our tool available to the public so cities, universities, and other companies can benefit from using them and can assess their vulnerability as well.

We can all play a role in creating a better, more environmentally sustainable future. Next week, I will be joining the African American Mayors Association’s Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., for a discussion on how 5G can help reduce the carbon emissions and enable future opportunities for sustainability and climate justice in our communities. It is an important conversation, and I hope you can join me.

At AT&T, we are working tirelessly to help ensure that everyone, regardless of their situation, can access and use connected technologies, which is essential to drive the progress our planet needs. We are acting to address climate change and prepare for its impacts because it is good for our business, for the communities we serve, and for our planet. I hope you will join us in celebrating our planet this Earth Day, and for many Earth Days to come.

Learn more about AT&T’s environmental sustainability initiatives.