Greenhouse gas emissions trajectories for the information and communication technology sector compatible with the UNFCCC Paris Agreement
|Publication Date:||1 January 2020|
This Recommendation provides detailed trajectories of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for the global information and communication technology (ICT) sector and sub-sectors that are quantified for the year 2015 and estimated for 2020, 2025 and 2030. In addition, it defines a long-term ambition for 2050. The trajectories, the long-term ambition and the 2015 baseline have been derived in accordance with [ITU-T L.1450] and through complementary methods in support of the 1.5°C objective described by the IPCC in its Special report: Global warming of 1.5°C [b-IPCC 1.5] and in support of the Science Based Targets (SBT) initiative.
This edition of this Recommendation includes mobile networks, fixed networks, data centres, enterprise networks and end-user devices, but excludes ICT services.
The 1.5°C trajectories are developed from two different perspectives as follows.
- A life cycle-based carbon footprint of the ICT sector to help ITU as the United Nations (UN) agency concerned with ICT to establish a clear view regarding ICT´s potential climate impacts in a 1.5°C scenario.
- An ICT sector trajectory in support of the SBT initiative to help ICT companies to set 1.5°C aligned targets in line with science is the main focus of the collaboration between the SBT initiative, GSMA, GESI and ITU. As a next step, guidance will be developed to help companies to set their own science-based targets in line with these trajectories.
The difference between the two perspectives A and B is that the latter does not allocate to the sector emissions related to the electricity supply (ES) chain and grid losses associated with the use of electricity in the ICT sector. The former more inclusive approach is aligned with life cycle assessment (LCA) practice and is in line with other Recommendations in the ITU-T L.1400 series. The latter approach is established as company accounting practice by the GHG protocol.
As the ICT sector is fast moving the trajectories developed at this point will need regular review over coming years.