French High Council on Climate – Controlling the Carbon Impact of 5G

May 8, 2021

The French governments High Council on Climate issued a report in December 2020 on CONTROLLING THE CARBON IMPACT OF 5G. It states that 5G will increase greenhouse gas emissions in the next decade and that a moratorium would be preferable as these new frequencies have not been subject to a prior environmental assessment particularly in regard to 5G carbon emissions.

It also notes that this should not be a substitute for a full assessment of all the environmental (including the material footprint), health, economic, financial, and social impacts, which should have been carried out beforehand. Its first and main recommendation is on the need to clarify climate issues prior to the deployment of new wireless technologies such as 5G (and remember work is going on to develop 6G for 10 years’ time which will be even more energy intensive):

Assess new technologies from a climate perspective before deciding on measures accompanying their deployment, in the same way as the economic, financial, social, health and environmental impacts (including the material footprint) of new technologies are evaluated before deciding on any measures accompanying deployment. Such an assessment should have been conducted for 5G before deciding to allocate the necessary frequencies.

Behind each byte we have mining and metal processing, oil extraction and petrochemicals, manufacturing and intermediate transports, public works (to bury the cables) and power generation with coal and gas. As a result, the carbon footprint of the global digital system is already 4% of the global greenhouse gas emissions, and it’s energy consumption rises by 9% per year.”
– Jean-Marc Jancovici, President of The Shift Project, member of the French High Climate Council.

Full summary report in English can be found here:

The full report in French can be found here:

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