There’s an oil can, a petrol pump and a factory that looks like a fossil fuel power station. There’s even a little black rock.
But there’s no emoji solar panel or wind turbine.
Public proposals for new emojis are currently open until August 31.
But efforts to include renewable energy in the world’s universal picture language for texting and tweeting have stalled after a wind turbine was rejected by emoji deciding body, the Unicode Consortium, earlier this year.
RenewableUK, an industry body for clean energy, put forward the wind turbine emoji in 2020.
Emma Fidler, RenewableUK’s communications and engagement manager told RenewEconomy: “We submitted an application for a wind turbine emoji because, whilst there are emojis representing fossil fuels, there are no emojis that facilitate conversations about climate change and renewable energy sources.”
Simon Holmes à Court, energy transition advisor and prolific tweeter, said he has often wanted to use renewable energy emojis. He told RenewEconomy the symbols make a tweet more eye catching and help save space (especially given Twitter’s short character limit).
A group called the Unicode Consortium decides which emojis are in and which ones are out. Established in 1991, the consortium’s members are made up of representatives from the major technology companies. Current voting members include Adobe, Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft among others.
Many of these same companies have embraced renewable powered offices, factories and data centres, and are members of RE100 a global initiative of corporations aiming for 100 percent renewable energy. Apple, Google and Microsoft have already achieved their renewable energy goal, while Facebook and Adobe plan to get there.
To be adopted, proposals for new emojis must demonstrate that symbols will be distinctive, have the potential to be widely used and could be relevant in different contexts.
RenewableUK said a new rule requiring a two year break between submissions prevents them from re-submitting the wind turbine again in the current round. But they plan to try again in 2022.
The ‘cool down’ rule doesn’t affect proposals for other designs, like a solar panel.
“If digital language is intended to reflect modern life, then renewable energy emojis are a no-brainer”, Anna Freeman the Clean Energy Council’s policy director told RenewEconomy.
“Renewable energy is here now and it’s growing faster than ever”, she said.
While a tiny wind turbine wasn’t on the list, new emojis for 2021 are expected to include a ‘melting face’, a low battery and an empty jar.
The Unicode Consortium did not respond to request for comment.