IGF 2020 WS #119 Mobile Internet Impact on the environment in 5G era

Time
Tuesday, 17th November, 2020 (09:00 UTC) - Tuesday, 17th November, 2020 (10:00 UTC)
Room
Room 2
About this Session
Although the rapid development of 5G mobile networks has brought greater challenges to energy consumption control, the opportunities brought about by 5G new technologies on sustainable development issues cannot be ignored.To understand the impact of 5G mobile Internet on the environment, several experts in different fields are invited to conduct in-depth discussions on this issue. Through this discussion, it will help increase everyone's understanding of the upcoming 5G technology.
Thematic Track

Organizer 1: Ming Yan, Communication University of China
Organizer 2: xiuyun ding, China Federation of Internet Societies
Organizer 3: CHIEN AUN CHAN, The University of Melbourne

Speaker 1: Luo Haijun, Private Sector, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 2: Chih-Lin I, Technical Community, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 3: CHIEN AUN CHAN, Private Sector, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 4: Belinda Exelby, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 5: Krzysztof Szubert, Technical Community, Eastern European Group

Additional Speakers

1. Schien Daniel (to replace Luo Haijun due to conflict of schedule)

2. Moore Steven (to replace Belinda Exelby due to conflict of schedule)

3. Mieczkowski Piotr (to replace Krzysztof Szubert due to conflict of schedule)

4.Roberto Zambrana (Add a new speaker)

Moderator

Thas A Nirmalathas, Technical Community, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Online Moderator

xiuyun ding, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group

Rapporteur

Ming Yan, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group

Format

Round Table - U-shape - 90 Min

Online duration reset to 60 minutes.
Policy Question(s)

1. How to evaluate the impact of mobile Internet energy consumption on the overall Internet and Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) energy consumption, with the large-scale deployment of 5G facilities? What impact will the mobile Internet industry upgrade have on the environment? 2. What measures can the government and industry take to control or reduce the carbon footprint of the mobile Internet? How to increase the proportion of clean energy in the 5G industry? 3. What role can the Mobile Internet of Things (IoT) play in tackling sustainability issues such as climate change, biodiversity? 4. How will the industrial upgrade brought by 5G technology (such as telemedicine, distance education, online office, etc.) affect people's lives? How to evaluate the role of these technologies in the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases (e.g. the COVID-19)? How can different governments use mobile Internet technology to defuse the functions of cities and promote the sustainable development of cities and communities?

Network capabilities such as low latency, high broadband, and large connectivity based on 5G technology will promote the rapid development of new services such as telemedicine, high-definition video, smart manufacturing, VR / AR, smart cities, and drones. 5G will also provide advanced scientific and technological means for ecological environmental protection and management. The development of 5G will greatly change the production and life style of human society, and arouse people's wonderful imagination about "technology makes the world better". But as the technology has gradually entered people's vision and life, new challenges are following. One of the huge challenges also exists in the field of ecological environmental protection. At present, the entire telecommunications industry consumes 2% -3% of global energy, while the construction of 5G infrastructure and the overall process for operators to provide services will gradually exceed the 4G era. As countries actively promote energy reform, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and promote low-carbon sustainable development, the high energy consumption of 5G should be seriously tackled. If the progress of 5G bring about the further exploitation of non-renewable energy sources that are currently overused, and impose another pressure on the fragile ecology, then we can't help but ask, "Can technology really make the world a better place?", "How can we make technology truly serve humanity's eternal pursuit of a better life?" Therefore, how to achieve the low level and green carbon footprint of the 5G era, to take good advantage of 5G in providing unprecedented new means and methods for ecological environmental protection and governance, while also achieving its own sustainable development is the core issue of our workshop. Specifically, for enterprises, the question is how to assess the proportion of energy consumption of 5G in the entire telecommunications industry, and the increase comparing to 4G before, how to work closely with the energy industry to make technological breakthroughs, reducing its energy consumption, and how to use 5G to provide convenient and comprehensive technological support for ecological environmental protection and management. The government should think about how to combine the actual situation of 5G technology development and incentive policies to guide enterprises to embark on the path of sustainable development, and how to effectively serve the low-carbon and green transformation of enterprises. The responsibility of international organizations is to seek ways to promote consensus on the development of 5G and ecological environmental protection among countries, and strengthen international technical exchanges and cooperation. These problems themselves contain many practical contradictions and difficulties about 5G and ecological environmental protection, so we also hope that all stakeholders involved in this workshop can communicate and discuss from their own perspectives. We hope that through this discussion on 5G and ecological environment protection on our workshop, telecommunications companies, governments, the international community and other stakeholders will achieve full communication and strive to reach a principled consensus, clarifying their respective responsibilities to achieve effective and smooth cooperation.

SDGs

GOAL 7: Affordable and Clean Energy
GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
GOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
GOAL 13: Climate Action

Description:

5G technology will bring challenges and opportunities to the development of the mobile Internet industry. This workshop will firstly discuss the impact of the mobile Internet industry upgrade on the environment, and propose corresponding energy saving and carbon emission reduction methods from different perspectives such as equipment manufacturers, operators, and governments. In addition to the environmental challenges mentioned above, the various positive effects of 5G technology on sustainable development issues will also be discussed. A detailed schedule is designed as follow: 1. Introduction - (5 mins) Before the workshop beginning, we will show the regular participants a 1-2min short video of environmental protection to illustrate the progress of human society and the impact of the development of new technologies on the environment. Our moderator will introduce different stakeholders, briefly introduce the challenges faced in the 5G era, and elaborate the agenda of the workshop. 2. Speaker sharing - (5 mins) Specific speakers will introduce the increase in network energy consumption and the corresponding increase in carbon emissions with the rapid development of 5G networks. Specific examples and statistics will be used to demonstrate the potential impact on the environment. This introduction will lead to a discussion of subsequent responses. At the same time, we will also present the views and opinions of experts and practitioners in various fields collected through emails, interviews and other forms before the workshop, as well as the latest papers (if any). 3. First Round Question and Discussion – (20 mins) In what ways will 5G network construction affect the environment? How can we deal with the environmental impact of 5G technology? How to promote the application of clean energy in mobile networks? 1) Open Q&A: The moderator will raise some questions for open answer and discussion from all participants. 2) Speaker 1: Invite an expert in this field to explain the questions above. 3) Speaker 2: Invite experts from different backgrounds to introduce various measures to reduce the carbon footprint. 4. Second Round Question and Discussion – (40 mins) What role will 5G technologies play in solving sustainable development issues such as climate change and biodiversity? How will emerging applications based on 5G technology affect people's lives? In what ways can mobile Internet technology promote the sustainable development of cities and communities? 1) Open Q&A: The moderator will raise some questions for open answer and discussion from all participants. 2) Speakers: Invite a representative from each stakeholder group to share their views on the questions above. 5. Open discussion and Q&A – (10 mins) All participants will have a chance to ask questions and speak about their views and speakers will answer these questions. And arrange the online moderator to choose 1-2 questions to answer from the online audience. 6. Summary and Closing – (10 mins) Closing remarks by the moderator.

Expected Outcomes

With this workshop we want to make all participants properly treat the various influence brought by 5G technology through various surveys and discussions. The goal is to shed light on a more nuanced understanding of the environmental challenges and opportunities brought by 5G mobile networks. We hope that the discussions can promote dialogue and debate on the rational development of mobile network technology to achieve sustainable social development, and provide decision-making basis for policy makers.

1. Before the seminar starts, we will contact several experts, practitioners and government officials in 5G related fields in different regions and different stakeholder groups to let them express their views on the current situation, policies and technologies. After this progress, it will be shown to the speakers at different links of the session as reference materials.

2. Before the session begins, we will first show the guests a short film about the environmental protection and the future to inspire the thinking of the guests and lead the topics to be discussed in the session, issues to be faced between the energy environment and 5G technology promotion.

3. We will also pay attention to the online publicity of the seminar to appeal to everyone's attention, and we also welcome online interaction and questions to increase the participation of the session.

Relevance to Internet Governance: Globally, the total number of mobile users (those subscribing to a cellular service) is going to grow from 5.1 billion in 2018 to 5.7 billion by 2023. The mobile services will dominate the development and investment direction of the future Internet services. Most of the investments in the ICT sector have been used for mobile Internet. The balance between the economic benefits brought by 5G investment and sustainable development will become one of the focuses of Internet governance. The phenomenal growth in mobile end-user devices and M2M connections is a clear indicator of the growth of mobile IoT, which is bringing together people, processes, data, and things to make networked connections more relevant and valuable. 5G connections have appeared on the scene in 2019 and will grow over 100-fold from about 13 million in 2019 to 1.4 billion by 2023. 5G connectivity is emerging from nascency to a strong contender for mobile connectivity driven by mobile IoT growth. By 2023, there will be 11% devices and connections with 5G capability. Therefore, the application and guidance of mobile IoT in various fields based on mobile Internet technology will also be another focus of Internet governance.

Relevance to Theme: Energy is becoming even more important due to climate change and sustainability considerations. The potential increase in data traffic (up to 1,000 times more) and the infrastructure to cope with it in the 5G era could make 5G to, arguably, consume up to 2-3 times as much energy. This potential increase in energy, coming from a high number of base stations, retail stores and office space, maintaining legacy plus 5G networks and the increasing cost of energy supply, call for action from industries and governments. The current reality is that overall energy usage by the ICTs needs to come down as the industry consumes between 2~3% of global energy currently. Many national governments are mandating businesses to adhere to energy reforms (e.g. EU’s 2030 climate and energy framework) with the global goal to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, since 2014, by 30% in absolute terms by 2020 and 50% by 2030. The telecoms industry is not exempt from these pressures and the evolution to 5G is an opportunity to deliver a cleaner, greener telecoms footprint. Indeed, 3GPP’s 5G specification calls for a 90% reduction in energy use. In addition, increasing the use of clean energy in 5G mobile network facilities can also effectively reduce the carbon footprint. Although the rapid development of 5G mobile networks has brought greater challenges to energy consumption control, the opportunities brought about by 5G new technologies on sustainable development issues cannot be ignored. On the one hand, Cisco Annual Internet Report (2018–2023) forecasts that global mobile devices will grow from 8.8 billion in 2018 to 13.1 billion by 2023-1.4 billion of those will be 5G capable by 2023. The phenomenal growth in mobile end-user devices and Machine-To-Machine (M2M) connections is a clear indicator of the growth of mobile IoT, which is bringing together people, processes, data, and things to make networked connections more relevant and valuable. These ubiquitous mobile connections can effectively monitor sustainability issues such as climate change and biodiversity. On the other hand, the industrial upgrade brought by 5G technology will play a positive role in the sustainable cities and communities. Especially during the outbreak of the COVID-19, 5G-based telemedicine has been applied in some hospitals in China, allowing many patients to get online diagnosis by experts. During the blockade of the city to control the virus, remote education and online work based on the mobile Internet enabled people to study and work at home. The application of these new technologies can effectively defuse the functions of the city, avoid crowding people, and provide technical guarantee for the sustainable development of cities and communities.

Online Participation

Usage of IGF Official Tool. Additional Tools proposed: The online moderator will encourage remote participation through various social networking platforms (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, Wechat etc.) in addition to the platform provided by the IGF Secretariat. The online moderator will keep an eye on remote participants on the IGF online participation platform and also on social media platforms, sharing comments posted with the official hashtag and giving remote participants the opportunity to ask questions during the session.

 

Agenda

1. Introduction - (5 mins) Before the workshop beginning, we will show the regular participants a 1-2min short video of environmental protection to illustrate the progress of human society and the impact of the development of new technologies on the environment. Our moderator will introduce different stakeholders, briefly introduce the challenges faced in the 5G era, and elaborate the agenda of the workshop.

2. Speaker sharing - (5 mins) Specific speakers will introduce the increase in network energy consumption and the corresponding increase in carbon emissions with the rapid development of 5G networks.

3. First Round Question and Discussion – (20 mins) In what ways will 5G network construction affect the environment? How can we deal with the environmental impact of 5G technology? How to promote the application of clean energy in mobile networks? 1) Open Q&A: The moderator will raise some questions for open answer and discussion from all participants. 2) Invite an expert in this field to explain the questions above. 3) Invite experts from different backgrounds to introduce various measures to reduce the carbon footprint.

4. Second Round Question and Discussion – (20 mins) What role will 5G technologies play in solving sustainable development issues such as climate change and biodiversity? How will emerging applications based on 5G technology affect people's lives? In what ways can mobile Internet technology promote the sustainable development of cities and communities? 1) Open Q&A: The moderator will raise some questions for open answer and discussion from all participants. 2) Invite a representative from each stakeholder group to share their views on the questions above.

5. Open discussion and Q&A – (5 mins) All participants will have a chance to ask questions and speak about their views and speakers will answer these questions.

6. Summary and Closing – (5 mins) Closing remarks by the moderator.

1. Key Policy Questions and related issues
1. How to evaluate the impact of mobile Internet energy consumption on the overall Internet and Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) energy consumption, with the large-scale deployment of 5G facilities? What impact will the mobile Internet industry upgrade have on the environment?
2. What measures can the government and industry take to control or reduce the carbon footprint of the mobile Internet? How to increase the proportion of clean energy in the 5G industry?
3. What role can the Mobile Internet of Things (IoT) play in tackling sustainability issues such as climate change, biodiversity?
2. Summary of Issues Discussed

5G technology development will bring challenges and opportunities for energy consumption. The panelists elaborated and discussed these issues from different perspectives.

Dr Chih-lin I gave a brief overview of 5G construction of China Mobile. Although the energy consumption of 5g base station is about three or four times that of 4G base station, its actual energy efficiency is higher, that is to say, it can carry more traffic with the same power consumption.

Dr Daniel Schien introduced that the supply chain of digital services is a complex system, so it is difficult to have an accurate assessment of its energy consumption. For the green development of 5G, we hope to use as much renewable energy as possible in the cellular network. In addition, a comprehensive report on energy consumption allows operators, media, consumers and the public sector to make better decisions.

MR Moore Steven introduced that the potential development of 5G will contribute to carbon emission reduction in other industries, such as intelligent agriculture, intelligent buildings and energy sectors, which will all rely on interconnected networks to ensure intelligent manufacturing and intelligent energy management.

MR Mieczkowski Piotr mentioned that in the EU, people are discussing the EU green agreement, that is, large-scale digitization of the energy industry. Without the smart grid, the Internet of things and 5G connectivity, this agreement would not have been possible.

MR Roberto Zambrana mentioned that some countries in the southern hemisphere, such as Latin America and the Caribbean, were far behind in 5g. Multilateral agreements between governments in different regions of the global south are needed to implement a joint strategy to establish a common regulatory framework for all Internet mobile broadband services, including 5G.

3. Key Takeaways

5G is leading us into the era of green communication. Different countries and organizations have formulated carbon neutral plans for sustainable development. The large-scale deployment of 5G base station will bring great energy consumption challenges. The energy consumption of 5G base station is about three or four times that of 4G base station. In addition, the overall energy consumption of 5G network is many times higher than that of previous generations due to its potential higher density.

However, because 5g can carry more data and its peak data rate is 15 times higher than that of 4G, it is more efficient than 4G, 3G and 2G in terms of energy consumption per unit data transmission.

In the green development of 5G, there are mainly the following aspects: first, as much renewable energy as possible needs to be used in the cellular network. Second, energy consumption needs to be fully reported so that operators, media, consumers and the public sector can make better decisions. Third, energy consumption services need to be more intuitive and transparent. Fourth, there is more cross sectoral cooperation between infrastructure providers and media organizations.

In addition, the potential development of 5G will contribute to carbon emission reduction in other industries, such as intelligent agriculture, intelligent buildings, and energy sectors, which will all rely on interconnected networks to ensure intelligent manufacturing and intelligent energy management.

6. Final Speakers

Speaker 1: Chih-Lin I, Technical Community, Asia-Pacific Group

Speaker 2: Schien Daniel, Technical Community, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Speaker 3: Moore Steven, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Speaker 4: Mieczkowski Piotr, Civil Society, Eastern European Group

Speaker 5: Roberto Zambrana, Technical Community, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)

7. Reflection to Gender Issues

This session has invited a female speaker, Dr. Chih Lin I, the chief scientist of China Mobile Research Institute. She is one of the famous experts in the field of green mobile communication. As a female representative, she gave a lot of valuable statements and suggestions on this topic. The issue discussed in this session did not involve gender issues. She gave professional advice from the perspective of a female representative.

8. Session Outputs

1. The overall energy consumption of 5G network is many times that of previous generations. However, because 5G can carry more data, it is more efficient than 4G, 3G and 2G in terms of energy consumption per unit data transmission.

2. The carbon emission of 5G network can be reduced through the following ways. First, as much renewable energy as possible needs to be used in cellular networks. Second, energy consumption needs to be fully reported so that operators, media, consumers and the public sector can make better decisions. Third, energy consumption services need to be more intuitive and transparent. Finally, there is more cross sectoral cooperation between infrastructure providers and media organizations.

3. The potential development of 5G technology will contribute to carbon emission reduction in other industries, such as intelligent agriculture, intelligent buildings, and energy sectors, which will all rely on interconnected networks to ensure intelligent manufacturing and intelligent energy management.

4. The content of the session was reported by relevant media. For example: http://en.youth.cn/RightNow/202011/t20201120_12584204.htm

9. Group Photo
Screenshots of all speakers.