Canada must develop digital policy to reach net zero, new report finds

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– Independent report, released by FarrPoint, highlights missed opportunities to accelerate Canada’s path to net zero, and reinforces potential for the country to become world-leader through effective policy enabling digital technologies.

– The report identifies opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGe) by up to 20%[1] – helping Canada to save up to 120 megatonnes of GHGe per year.

HALIFAX, NS, June 1, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Digital policies are being overlooked by Canada on its path towards net zero, a new report by independent connectivity consultants, FarrPoint, has found.

The report, which was published today to coincide with Canadian Environment Week (30 May-5 June), examined the digital policies that G7 economies have or are planning to introduce as they work towards becoming net zero by 2050.

FarrPoint’s research concluded that Canada, like the rest of the G7, has no specific national digital policies designed to support climate action and the delivery of net zero targets. The report suggests that the development and inclusion of digital policies within government’s sustainability commitments presents a clear opportunity to create positive outcomes and for Canada to lead the world in digitally-enabled climate action.

Digital policy is increasingly viewed as a vital way for governments to work towards their net zero commitments and research highlights how digital solutions could bring down GHGe emissions by up to 20%[1] – saving up to 120 megatonnes per year.

The report’s recommendations include transitioning away from broadband and cellular network infrastructure competition (including improved cellular spectrum sharing), which would limit emissions from construction, allocate assets more efficiently, and ensure that network and infrastructure owners can make a return on their investment.

In addition, FarrPoint suggests that a combination of tax incentives should be introduced to encourage changes in working practices, such as prioritising remote working, as well as promote the delivery of public services digitally and aid the wider digital adoption within the economy by reducing financial barriers to entry. Also, the report recommends that all digital procurement and investment requiring public funding should prioritise projects with credible carbon reduction plans to reduce the ecological impact of infrastructure investment.

Finally, the report notes that the seven sectors identified and tracked by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will benefit their GHG emissions reductions as a direct result of digital policies. These sectors include energy, industry, buildings, transport, land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUC&F), waste, and agriculture.

Andrew Muir, CEO, FarrPoint, said: “Like many countries, Canada’s efforts to combat climate change are developing but there is still much more work to be done if it is to achieve net zero commitments. Across the world, digital services and solutions have been overlooked as a mechanism to achieve our collective environmental goals. It is vital that governments, organisations and consumers alike recognise that digital policy is climate policy. In creating this report, we have been able to provide a clear path forward to kick-start a conversation in Canada on the crucial role digital can play in reaching net zero.

“No other developed economy in the world is leading in this area and there is a real opportunity to showcase Canada’s commitment to a greener future. Not only does this make commercial sense and improve the lives of consumers but improved digital policy also can help drive emissions down to reach its 2030 goal of a reduction of 40-45% of its 2005 emissions, which would be a big step on the journey towards net zero.

“Ultimately, the key conclusion of this study is that digital policy must become embedded in Canada’s climate policy, if it is to reach net zero by 2050.”

The full report has been made available for download and can be accessed via this link:

About FarrPoint

FarrPoint is an independent technology consultancy which specialises in digital connectivity. It provides independent advice on the commercial and technical considerations of the design of national and regional connectivity strategies, technical planning and modelling, procurement support and implementation assurance.

[1] Source: SMARTer2030 report, GeSI, 2018 

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