MEPs demand a moratorium on 5G to assess its ecological impact

5G is once again at the heart of political debates. MEPs tabled three amendments on March 1, 2021 calling for a moratorium on the new generation of mobile phones. The objective of the latter would be in particular to measure the environmental impact caused by the deployment of the network.

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5G continues to roll out progressive on the territory and could soon arrive in Paris. The network nevertheless remains belittled by many opponents, or at least skeptics who question its true usefulness. Last December, the capital organized a citizens’ conference to decide on the conditions of commissioning. It is now the turn of MEPs to question the new generation of mobile telephony.

Some of them have thus taken advantage of the bill against climate change to ask for a moratorium on 5G. This request is found in three amendments tabled on March 1st. The objective is therefore to pause network deployment in order to impose protective measures for the environment, after studying the real ecological impact. The Citizen’s Climate Convention, completed in February 2021, notably made the same request.

Two amendments to measure the ecological impact of 5G

The first two amendments, in reality similar but signed by different elected officials, require the conduct of a study divided into three points. First, the deputies wish assess the ecological impact of 5G. Then the latter want propose solutions able to limit this impact. Finally, it is a question to impose measures applying these solutions to operators. The amendments therefore ask to measure “The significant effects of these frequency authorizations on France’s carbon footprint and energy consumption”, and demand action from the government “To reduce the environmental impact of these frequency authorizations”.

That’s not all. Of course, the goal is above all to do “Respect carbon budgets” when distributing frequencies. But elected officials also want to ensure that these “Do not interfere with Earth exploration satellites and weather analysis”. To support their point, the signatories cite in particular the High Council for the Climate, which calculated an increase of 2.7 to 6.7 megatonnes of CO2 released into the atmosphere by 2030. The amendments thus denounce an increase in electricity consumption “ caused by 5G. However, it is difficult to be sure. On the one hand, the new antennas are supposed to be less energy intensive. On the other hand, these could be more in demand than before.

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A third amendment for a require a moratorium

The third amendment, this time supported by members of La France Insoumise, calls for the establishment of a one-year moratorium. Moreover, the latter does not stop there and extends to other areas of digital, such as electronism or the digital divide from which several million French people suffer. According to elected officials, 4G and optical fiber are “sufficient” in the current state, making increased flow unnecessary at this stage. They also offer a capacity development of the current network, especially in areas at risk of saturation.

Although the members of La France Insoumise are also interested in ecological topics, they also mention the possible drifts caused by 5G. Recently, security researchers have discovered that hackers can use the network to spy on and collect personal data. Their concern also relates to the monitoring options offered to the government, or the exponential development of connected objects.

These three amendments will be examined from 8 March 2021 by the commission in charge of the law against climate change. Study of the texts should continue until March 19, date on which a decision will be taken as to their validation. Having said that, it is very likely that MPs will not get the latter, the majority of the National Assembly being opposed to such a project.

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