The Safer Technology Aotearoa New Zealand Society (STANZ) was created in 2020 to help inform, educate and advocate in the public interest including, but not exclusively, to policy makers, regulatory bodies, educationalists, the medical and scientific community as well as local, regional and central government, about the safe use of technology.
STANZ in general agrees with the Climate Change Commissions (CCC) overall goal that Aotearoa must focus on decarbonising and reducing emissions at the source (both locally and globally). Unfortunately, the CCC reports do not currently adequately consider the massive (and growing) increase in energy use and greenhouse gas emissions by the digital economy through Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Cloud computing and wireless communications through the 4G and increasingly 5G systems, mobile smart phones and the infrastructure and data centers required to run them (both locally and globally). Just when we need to be moving as a society to reduce greenhouse gas emissions this sector of the economy is massively increasing its requirements for energy outstripping the growth in renewable energy sources with it being reliant on increasing numbers of coal fired power stations in other countries e.g. China.
STANZ recommends that the CCC needs to take seriously the ICT, Cloud computing and mobile communications systems increasing energy requirements and greenhouse gas footprint. The CCC needs to develop a plan so that this sector can be part of a sustainable climate future.
STANZ recommends that the most energy efficient ICT system is a wired system that is not reliant on energy intensive wireless transmissions. Wired ICT systems are also faster and more secure.
STANZ recommends that the use of smart phones reliant on 4G and 5G (and 6G) mobile phones are incompatible with a goal for a climate sustainable society. The smartest mobile phone communication system for the future is to move to so-called “dumb phones” (e.g. Nokia) that only need the existing 2G/3G system which require much less energy than the 4G, 5G and eventually 6G systems. This would also reduce emissions from globally located cloud computer centres required to provide computing services that smartphones need to work both locally and globally.
STANZ agrees with the French High Council on Climate report that the 5G system will increase greenhouse gas emissions.
STANZ recommends that there be a moratorium on the use and continued roll-out of the 5G system as to such time it can be proven safe for the climate, people and the environment.
Full submission here: