News: 84% of smartphone users, who also drive a car, use satnav apps to plan routes and avoid traffic.
A new report has revealed that the use of mobile technology in the US and Europe is saving more than 180 million tonnes of carbon emissions per year.
The study by the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) for the Carbon Trust said that the existing reduction impact is around five times higher than the emissions coming from the operation of the mobile networks, and this will increase by about three times by the end of the decade.
Under the study, 60 carbon-saving mechanisms were assessed in 10 categories, evaluating several uses of mobile communications technology from smartphones to machine-to-machine (M2M) connections.
Mobile was found to have a better impact due to the changes carried out in lifestyles and working patterns, as well as on energy infrastructure.
As part of the study, 4,000 smartphone users were surveyed in the US, UK, Spain, South Korea and Mexico. The majority of people said they were already using their smartphone in a way that helped them reduce their personal carbon emissions.
84% of smartphone users, that also drive a car, use satnav apps to plan travel routes more efficiently or avoid traffic. 80% of respondents said they use mobile devices to work or study from home, in order to avoid the need to travel.
Around 50% of respondents said they purchase digital instead of physical products like newspapers, music and books.
Four in ten plan to consider using a self-driving car in future and 48% would be more likely to use public transport if they had a mobile app to see the arrival of the next service.
Carbon Trust senior consultant Andie Stephens said: "Mobile is going to have a key role to play in helping to tackle climate change. But the impact the technology is having today is just a fraction of its full potential.
"Given the urgency of the challenge the world faces then there is a clear case to accelerate the adoption of the various mechanisms through which mobile can help to cut carbon.
"It should also help promote green growth in the developing world, helping emerging economies to leapfrog over the need for certain types of high carbon infrastructure."
The report was funded by BT, EE, Telefónica UK (O2) and Vodafone, with technical guidance from other telecommunication firms including Bell Canada, Swisscom and Telenor.