AT&T* has engaged the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory for help on a Climate Change Resiliency Project to better anticipate, prepare for and adapt to the impacts of climate change. This is the first such project publicly announced in the telecommunications industry. It has brought together insights from Argonne National Laboratory’s leading climate and environmental science with AT&T data scientists. This has led to AT&T developing a Climate Change Analysis Tool that will help anticipate potential impacts of climate change on our network infrastructure and business operations 30 years into the future.
“Extreme weather and climate-related events disrupt businesses, public services and communities,” said Scott Mair, president, AT&T Operations. “Together with Argonne National Laboratory, we’re using industry-leading science and technology to assess the risks of a changing climate to our business, so we can make data-driven decisions to better serve our customers and improve our corporate resilience.”
By combining Argonne National Laboratory’s regional climate modeling data with sophisticated mapping capabilities, the tool allows AT&T to visualize climate change risk on company infrastructure and make smarter, climate-informed decisions for the future. For example, instead of relying on 10-day weather forecasts and historic events, we can now visualize climate-related events, such as projected sea-level rise, surrounding copper lines, fiber cable locations, cell sites, central offices and much more decades into the future. This information can be used to help us plan for maintenance, disaster recovery and future construction to best serve our customers and the communities we serve.
“Global climate change does not affect all regions or communities in the same way,” said Dr. Rao Kotamarthi, chief scientist, Argonne National Laboratory’s Atmospheric Science and Climate research group. “At Argonne National Laboratory, we are using high-resolution models and vast statistical techniques to project climate change at regional, local, and even neighborhood scales. Our project applies this detailed information to AT&T’s infrastructure planning, so it can safeguard networks and help ensure resiliency as the climate changes around it.”
AT&T is piloting the Climate Change Analysis Tool in the Southeastern United States, which has been hit hard by severe weather and hurricanes in recent years, and is exploring the possibility of expanding the project to include additional regions in the future. In coordination with Argonne National Laboratory, we’ll also make the regional climate modeling data calculated by Argonne National Laboratory for AT&T available to the public, including universities, municipalities and others, to use in their own climate risk analysis.
“As a company, we’ve long been working to help mitigate the impacts of climate change,” said Charlene Lake, AT&T senior vice president – corporate social responsibility and chief sustainability officer. “This project builds upon these efforts and helps boost climate resiliency for our business, our employees and our customers, who count on us to adapt and recover quickly when disaster strikes.”
AT&T is taking action to help build climate resilience for our business, our employees and our communities. We’ve invested more than 150,000 working hours and $650 million in our Network Disaster Recovery program to help keep customers connected when disaster strikes.1 Between 2014 and 2018, we’ve donated $3.7 million in humanitarian aid to support communities impacted by climate-related events. And, along with our employees, we’ve provided an additional $5.4 million in aid to more than 5,700 AT&T employees impacted by natural disasters events through our employee relief funds since 2011.2
AT&T’s Climate Resiliency Project is just one of our environmental sustainability initiatives. We have set a 10x Carbon Reduction goal to enable carbon savings 10x the footprint of our operations by 2025.
To help reach this goal, we are working across our company to make our network, fleet and operations more efficient. We’re also helping our customers leverage technology, such as mobile connectivity and the Internet of Things (IoT), to help reduce their carbon emissions. AT&T is one of the largest corporate purchasers of renewable energy in the U.S., and our investments are helping to support America’s transition to a low-carbon economy and enable a clean energy future.