AT&T, Verizon asked to 'hang up on fossil fuels' - Smart Energy Decisions

Commercial, Energy Efficiency, Commercial, Sourcing Renewables  -  August 25, 2017

AT&T, Verizon asked to 'hang up on fossil fuels'

An environmental and social sustainability not-for-profit is urging two of the country's largest telecommunications companies — AT&T and Verizon — to accelerate adoption of renewable energy and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. 

The Washington, D.C.-based organization Green America on Aug. 24 launched a campaign intended to mobilize customers to call on the two companies to "hang up on fossil fuels" and make public commitments to use 100% renewable energy in their operations by 2025. The group claims that AT&T and Verizon currently use less than 2% renewable energy, while the tech industry is approaching 100%; the group also claims that Sprint is ahead of the two telecom companies with a 10% by 2017 goal. 

"AT&T and Verizon are clearly behind the curve when it comes to adopting renewable energy to power their massive data centers," Todd Larsen, executive co-director of Consumer and Corporate Engagement at Green America, said in a news release. "As more and more companies recognize their obligations to lower their emissions and help the U.S. meet the goals of the Paris Climate Accords, our two largest cell phone providers are clearly lagging behind leaders like Google and Apple. Now is the time for both companies to make a commitment and provide a timeline to get to 100% renewable energy."

The group claims AT&T uses approximately 15 million MW of electricity per year and Verizon uses more than 10 million MW, with combined emissions from operations equal to nearly 4 million cars on the road for one year.

On the positive side, Green America did applaud the companies for their energy efficiency efforts. The organization said both AT&T and Verizon have managed to keep their energy use relatively constant despite rapid growth in cellular data demands over the past several years. Notably, AT&T recently reported that it has achieved a 43% reduction in energy intensity since 2013, and both it and Verizon have significant 2020 carbon reduction goals.

"While energy efficiency is a crucial step, AT&T and Verizon are still using millions of megawatts of electricity, mostly supplied by fossil fuels, and contributing to the rise in global greenhouse gas emissions," the group said. 

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