OnQ Blog

Keeping it cool on Earth Day

Apr 22, 2015

Qualcomm products mentioned within this post are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.


Today at Qualcomm we are celebrating Earth Day at our offices across the globe with a special twist—the theme for this year’s Earth Day festivities is “Keep It Cool,” a reference to the need to protect our planet for future generations by doing our part to address climate change.

Qualcomm supports the development of a global climate agreement and encourages the United States government to take action on climate change. We are a signatory of the Climate Declaration and have been participating in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) climate negotiations since 2009.

I attended the UNFCCC meetings in Geneva in February 2015, where about 1,300 representatives from governments, observer organizations and media from around the world met last month to develop a draft text for the 2015 climate agreement.

Against the odds, the ADP  (Durban Platform for Enhanced Action—the group responsible for the 2015 agreement) was successful in creating a draft negotiating text for the climate negotiations in Paris in December 2015 ahead of its rather ambitious schedule.

Huge questions remain about the legal format of the agreement, the ambition of the agreement and other major topics, and it’s important that governments get these things right, as well as the details.

Protection of intellectual property rights (IPR) in a climate agreement will be particularly important to encouraging the innovation necessary to addressing this global challenge. A recent study by the Boston Consulting Group—The Mobile Revolution: How Mobile Technologies Drive a Trillion-Dollar Impact—noted that strong patent protection was a key factor in the technological advance and rapid growth of the wireless industries. And it said strong patent protection is still needed to encourage large and risky investments in mobile-tech innovation.

That need is even stronger for the risky but urgently needed R&D that must take place to produce new climate-friendly technologies.

Working at a technology company, I often witness the many ways that inventors can help make the world a better place. And as most economists and economic histories can tell you, the incentives created by intellectual property protection are a key part of the invention process. Strong patent protection is essential to encourage the types of large and risky investments that lead to the technology innovation and immense social benefit industries like the mobile industry provide.

We at Qualcomm are proud to produce inventions that help people and to inspire others to innovate for the sake of the planet. And we’re proud that around the world, people are using wireless communication to help address some of society’s greatest challenges.

One example of this is the recently announced collaboration between Qualcomm Wireless Reach and Telefonica Digital Education, with the patronage of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), on the Mobile for Change apps contest. The objective? To “contribute to the improvement of our surroundings and society.”

Mobile apps related to education, entrepreneurship, healthy lifestyles, art, creativity, environmental sustainability, public safety, social inclusion and the empowerment of women are all eligible, provided they leverage Scratch, a programming language and online community for young people; the Qualcomm Vuforia platform, a product of Qualcomm Connected Experiences, Inc.; or AllJoyn open source software framework from AllSeen Alliance.

Nine winners will be selected from across three categories, including two special categories for entries that target the empowerment of women or come from young people aged 18 to 25 years old. There is still time to enter the contest, which runs through May 15, 2015.

As you know, here at Qualcomm, we love science, and we see innovation and sustainability as two important issues that are inextricably linked. Check out our new Sustainability Report for more stories about our programs and accomplishments.

I look forward to participating in the discussions leading up to an outcome in Paris that promotes innovation, ensures intellectual property is protected, and demonstrates a global commitment to address climate change, and I’m excited to see what apps are developed in the meantime to help make the world a better place.

Until then, I’ll be “keeping it cool” here at Qualcomm.

Qualcomm Vuforia is a product of Qualcomm Connected Experiences, Inc.

Opinions expressed in the content posted here are the personal opinions of the original authors, and do not necessarily reflect those of Qualcomm Incorporated or its subsidiaries ("Qualcomm"). Qualcomm products mentioned within this post are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries. The content is provided for informational purposes only and is not meant to be an endorsement or representation by Qualcomm or any other party. This site may also provide links or references to non-Qualcomm sites and resources. Qualcomm makes no representations, warranties, or other commitments whatsoever about any non-Qualcomm sites or third-party resources that may be referenced, accessible from, or linked to this site.

Elisabeth Best

Sustainability and Wireless Reach Program Manager