The Path to Drawdown: Telepresence
From multipurpose-room systems, immersive telepresence, desktop systems, videophones, and cloud-based software systems, telepresence comes in a variety of forms. But what they all have in common is that they can replace flying for business meetings and reduce overall air and land transportation.
Air travel is estimated to account for ~2.5% of global CO2 emissions. That’s more than 700 million tons of CO2 annually. A big chunk of this is from business air travel.
By integrating telepresence systems, companies, schools, hospitals and museums can offer their services and facilitate communication to people without being in the same place. This way they can avoid emissions from commutes and business travel by air. Not only that, telepresence can help cut costs and ease employee schedules by avoiding travel, enhance meeting productivity and faster decision-making, and increase interpersonal connection across geographies.
The global market for telepresence solutions is on the rapid rise, from US$2.2 billion in 2010 to US$3.3 billion in 2014. The novel coronavirus pandemic has further accelerated this adoption.
Project Drawdown estimates that, if telepresence is used widely enough to replace 16-30% of global air business travel by 2050, it can help avoid 1 gigaton to 3.8 gigatons of CO2 equivalent emissions. This would mean that between 486 - 676 million business-related trips will be replaced, US$1.2-4.4 trillion worth of business travel savings, and between 107 - 143 million fewer unproductive travel hours.