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Getting Mobile for Copenhagen

Telstra News

Posted on November 12, 2009

3 min read

“Is everything well in the state of Denmark?” 

My [deliberate] misquoting from Shakespeare’s Hamlet is perhaps apt given my absence from the blogosphere for the past several months, and the approaching climate change conference in Copenhagen (COP15). 

The world’s focus is rapidly moving to this small country in the northern hemisphere as climate change policy makers prepare to seek agreement on targets to limit human contributions to greenhouse gas emissions. There is an expectation that these same policy makers will be ready and willing to lock in meaningful commitments to reduce these emissions within their own jurisdictions. 

It’s also an opportunity for industries to have their say on how they’ll contribute to the range of solutions needed to reduce emissions. For example, more than 730 companies have voluntarily signed up to the Copenhagen Communiqué  – a commitment by corporations to reduce emissions. Signatories are urging policy makers to forge an agreement for a global emissions cap and a long-term reduction pathway for all greenhouse gases, including interim targets. Telstra, along with several other global telcos are signatories

One of the elements of the communiqué that caught my eye is the call to policy makers to acknowledge the importance of “enabling policies” for industries to make their contribution to the low-carbon economy (for example see the reports:  Telstra initiatives & SMART 2020: Enabling the low carbon economy in the information age [PDF]).  

The telecommunications industry is a low-carbon enabling industry. Look at mobiles. This sector has a relatively low-energy intensity, contributing much more to the economy than its proportion of national energy usage. For example, in Australia, the mobile industry is responsible for less than 0.3% of greenhouse gas emissions but delivers 3 to 4% of gross domestic product (GDP). It’s a similar story in the UK. But it’s not just the financial and social benefits this sector delivers. The sector, with its global reach of networks, is emerging centre stage as an enabler of smart technologies to reduce reliance on fossil fuels. In a future blog, I’ll share concrete initiatives on what the mobile sector is doing globally to deliver on this promise of contributing to emissions reduction.

In the meantime I’ll wait and see after the COP15 talks in December if the original Shakespeare quote was more appropriate. Hopefully I won’t be saying “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark” and that our climate change policy makers did in fact set the scene for meaningful long-term emissions reduction targets…

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