Microsoft joins Carbon Call

Sheila Zabeu -

February 16, 2022

After stating that one of the main “bugs” to be collectively fixed to zero greenhouse gas emissions is a measurement, Lucas Joppa, Microsoft’s chief environmental officer, recently announced the company’s participation in the Carbon Call initiative, which seeks to make emissions accounting more reliable and interoperable.

According to Joppa, since the beginning of its sustainability journey, Microsoft has recognized the need to work together with other organizations to achieve a carbon-free future. “As participants and signatories of Carbon Call, we are excited to work on strengthening responsible foundations and promoting a credible global emission reporting system,” he said.

Carbon Call will mobilize collective action, investment, and resources from academic, corporate, philanthropic, and intergovernmental entities to facilitate access to reliable and up-to-date scientific data and resources that can be easily exchanged between carbon accounting systems.

Reliable measurement and accounting of greenhouse gas emissions are essential if effective and safe action is to be taken. However, according to an analysis by The Washington Post, there is under-reporting in the reports that many countries submit to the United Nations – by analyzing data from 196 nations, the newspaper identified that there may be under-reported emissions ranging from 8.5 billion to 13.3 billion tonnes annually.

“With so many organizations committing to zero emissions, one key piece is still missing: a transparent and interoperable system to track, report, and compare emissions and greenhouse gas reductions. Carbon Call is a collaborative effort that will promote reliability among many carbon ledgers – at the corporate, national, and planetary levels. We encourage all organizations committed to zero carbon to join us,” said Joppa.

Today, carbon accounting suffers from data quality issues, measurement and reporting inconsistencies, siloed platforms, and infrastructure challenges. All of which makes it difficult to compare, combine and share reliable data.

Carbon Call’s intention is to reveal and address identified gaps in current global carbon accounting systems, working collectively to pinpoint where more accurate information is needed to improve the reliability and interoperability of both the reports and the ecosystems that provide data.

Carbon Call is an initiative organized by ClimateWorks Foundation. Besides Microsoft, other participating organizations are Capricorn Investment Group, Climate Change AI, Corporate Leaders Group Europe, Global Carbon Project, Global Council for Science and the Environment, International Science Council, LF Energy, Linux Foundation, Mila, Skoll Foundation, Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, United Nations Environment Programme (collaborating organization) and United Nations Foundation.

Carbon Call signatories support the conditions necessary to develop a more reliable and interoperable global system for carbon accounting reporting (or ledgers). To this end, signatories commit to reporting greenhouse gas emissions and offset information, including all scopes and classes of emissions, annually and in a transparent and comprehensive manner. The signatories are Capricorn Investment Group, EY, GSK, KPMG, Microsoft, and Wipro.

Microsoft is notably the only hyperscaler participating in The Carbon Call. No network operator has signed the initial declaration. But that doesn’t mean sustainability and efficiency aren’t priority issues for the telecoms business. As operators adopt new 5G and IoT service offerings, efficiency will be key.

Connectivity technology in favour of zero carbon

5G technologies will play a significant role in enabling the US, for example, to meet the Biden administration’s climate change targets, according to an Accenture study commissioned by CTIA. 5G use cases are projected to contribute up to 20 percent to the country’s carbon emission reduction targets by 2025.

The report details that 5G use cases will enable a reduction of up to 330.8 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (MMtCO2e) by 2025, the equivalent of removing 26% of all passenger vehicles from US roads for a year – or about 72 million cars.

The study examined 31 5G use cases in five verticals: transportation and cities, manufacturing, buildings and energy, agriculture and labor, and life and health. The 5G use cases in the Transportation-Transportation and Cities verticals could account for up to 86.5 MMtCO2e in carbon reduction in the US, due to reduced congestion and vehicle idling at traffic lights, and optimized routes and more sustainable public transport modes, for example.

The 5G use cases in the Manufacturing vertical may total up to 67.4 MMtCO2e in carbon reduction in the country, due to better inventory management, real-time asset monitoring, and predictive maintenance, among other activities.

5G use cases in the Buildings and Energy verticals can reduce emissions by saving energy through real-time monitoring, increased renewable energy consumption, and reduced commuting by providing remote operations capabilities. The 5G use cases for clean energy are expected to enable an emission reduction of up to 5.4 MMtCO2e, while the 5G use cases in smart buildings are expected to enable an emission reduction of 62.5 MtCO2e.

5G connectivity also has the potential to reduce emissions from the Agriculture sector by supporting 5G use cases such as those that raise agricultural productivity and reduce resource waste. Accenture estimates that by 2025, 5G technologies could contribute to the reduction of up to 27.8 MMtCO 2e of carbon emissions

Finally, in the Life and Health verticals, the expectation is that 5G networks will enable a reduction in emissions because of increased teleconferencing, home working, and telemedicine.

Source: Accenture