AT&T Vows Carbon Neutral by 2035, Expands Climate Change Tool


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AT&T announced last week the telecom is committed to be carbon neutral across its entire global operations by 2035. The company said it’s also expanding the Climate Change Analysis Tool (CCAT) across the contiguous United States to identify the potential impacts of climate change on the network and operations – up to 30 years into the future.

With the virtualization of many network functions, AT&T will be eliminating significant portions of energy-intense network equipment and rely instead on low-cost, energy-efficient hardware that can virtualize the functions of the network equipment. As a result, the company projects they will be able to deploy new capabilities faster, utilize less energy and lower its greenhouse gas emissions footprint. The company currently has 75 percent of its core network functions virtualized.

Though AT&T aims to reduce its footprint to as close to zero emissions as possible, there may be some sources of emissions that cannot be eliminated. In these cases, the company will invest in carbon offsets to cover the associated emissions.

The company is expanding its (CCAT) from four pilot states in the Southeast to the entire contiguous U.S. to identify the potential impacts of climate change on its network and operations including flooding and hurricanes, as well as drought and wildfire projections across the country.

Over the past five years (2015-2019), AT&T invested more than $135 billion in its wireless and wireline networks, including capital investments and acquisition of wireless spectrum and operations. AT&T has spent about $1 billion recovering from climate-related severe weather events since 2016. With the expansion and implementation of CCAT, the carrier said it hopes to ensure its infrastructure resilience.

“Our network is tested by climate change and natural disasters every year,” said John Stankey, AT&T chief executive officer. “We recognize the long-term impact these commitments can have, and we owe it to the millions of customers who rely on our services to create the most resilient and sustainable business we can.”

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