The Path After Paris and the Power of Technology

By Tim Fleming
Dec 18, 2015 12:35 PM ET

On December 12,  the COP21 climate summit in Paris culminated in an historic agreement that was unanimously adopted by 195 nations. The agreement was the result of two weeks of intense negotiations between almost every country on the planet. Years of effort from government, business and civil society fueled the momentum for a substantive and strong international accord. Having successfully achieved that goal, the hard work now begins.

I was fortunate enough to be in Paris for COP21, representing AT&T and using the opportunity to listen, learn and engage with other organizations on the ground. Almost every country going into the summit had set national pledges for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and most major businesses—including AT&T—have set their own ambitious goals to be part of the solution.  As I spoke with people from companies across multiple sectors, it became very clear that businesses were shifting their focus from the what, and onto the how. They were talking about what happens after Paris.  Because now that the world agrees on what our goals are, we must focus on how we’re going to achieve them. In almost every conversation I was in, every session I participated in and every event I attended, there was one critical piece of the puzzle that was brought up time and again: the role of technology.

We already know that technology has a powerful role in our rapidly changing world. We also know that technologies exist today—like the Internet of Things—that can enable significant energy and carbon savings. The innovation will be in how we can apply that technology at scale to achieve real solutions. As part of our new goal to enable carbon savings for our customers that is 10x our own operations, AT&T is working hard to find ways our products and services can be applied in a way that helps cities, businesses and even individuals achieve their own carbon reduction goals.

We do this because we recognize the role that our technology can play in helping carry forth the momentum and energy coming out of Paris, and helping to transition the planet to a low carbon economy. We’re proud to do our part, and will continue working hard to see the spirit of Paris—that of collaboration, innovation and transformation—continue into the future as we use the power of our technology to change the world.