AT&T expands reach of its climate change tool to protect its network

AT&T expands the reach of its climate change analysis tool and commits to being carbon neutral by 2035. (Pixabay)

With the backdrop of the fires in California and other states, along with Hurricane Sally, AT&T is expanding the reach of its climate analysis tool.

In order to gauge the impact of climate change on its network and operations up to 30 years in the future, AT&T's Climate Change Tool (CCAT) has moved beyond the pilot phase in four states in the Southeast to the entire contiguous U.S.

AT&T has forked out about $1 billion to recover from climate-related weather impacts over the past four years. With the wide-scale deployment of CCAT, A&T said it could better insure the resilience of its infrastructure.

With support of climate change projections from the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory, AT&T launched the CCAT pilot last year. The initial focus was on regional impacts in the Southeast such as hurricanes and flooding.

As an example of CCAT's capabilities, AT&T said it can cross-reference its fiber cable installs against projected sea-level increases in 2050 to get a better handle on where to harden its existing infrastructure while planning for future builds with resilience in mind.

With AT&T spending more than $135 billion over the past five years on its wireless and wireline networks, CCAT provides added insurance to keep them up and running.

“Our network is tested by climate change and natural disasters every year,” said John Stankey, AT&T chief executive officer, in a statement. “We recognize the long-term impact these commitments can have, and we owe it to the millions of customers who rely on our services to create the most resilient and sustainable business we can.”

Last year, the company launched the AT&T Climate Resiliency Community Challenge for universities to collaborate with local governments in the Southeast to conduct climate risk analysis using the data developed by Argonne National Laboratory and shared by AT&T.

AT&T kicked in $250,000 to assess climate risks and help boost community resilience in five geographies. University and community recipients were Appalachian State University, Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Georgia University of Miami, and University of South Florida.

Like the pilot, AT&T will share the climate modeling data calculated by Argonne National Laboratory with the public, including universities, municipalities and others, to use for climate risk analysis.

RELATED: Google goes big on green pledge

AT&T has also committed to be carbon neutral across its entire global operations by 2035 by supporting the renewable energy marketplace, investing in carbon offsets, virtualizing more network functions, and transitioning to a low-emissions fleet, among other efforts.

On Monday, Google announced one of the most ambitious environmental pledges across the telecoms industry, which included the goal to only use carbon-free sources by 2030.

In June, Telefónica said it planned to reach its target of zero emissions across four main markets by 2030. On Earth Day last year, Verizon announced that it would go carbon neutral by 2035 in terms of all sources of emissions owned or controlled by Verizon and all sources of emissions purchased by Verizon.

Scientists have warned that global warming could become catastrophic by 2030 if it goes unchecked.