ITU’s call to Copenhagen: ICTs must be part of the solution
Date: Mon, 12/07/2009 - 11:56
Ahead of his arrival in Copenhagen for the United Nations Climate Change Conference (December 7-18), ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun Touré made an urgent plea to COP15 delegates not to miss the opportunity of harnessing advanced technologies to dramatically reduce emissions across a wide range of industry sectors.
"At Copenhagen we have a real and reachable opportunity to help save the planet through astute deployment of modern information and communication technologies (ICTs). Studies clearly show that more effective use of ICTs can deliver tremendous CO2e1 savings. I therefore urge COP15 delegates to look to the high-tech sector, and take maximum advantage of the power of ICTs to reduce emissions worldwide," said Dr Touré. "Put simply, ICT is the single most powerful tool humankind has at its disposal to avoid potential climate catastrophe."
ITU wants COP15 delegates to include specific mention of ICTs in key areas of the negotiating text. Specific mention of the ICT sector, along with the adoption of an agreed methodology for measuring the carbon footprint of ICT equipment and its inclusion in National Adaptation/Mitigation Plans, would provide an incentive to the ICT industry to invest in developing countries, help reduce the digital divide, and at the same time help fight climate change – a win-win scenario.
Malcolm Johnson, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB), and a team of ITU experts will work proactively with delegates onsite for the duration of the two-week event to raise awareness of the importance of ICTs. TSB is currently working with industry leaders to develop a standardized international methodology for measuring ICT carbon footprint, and hopes to seal an agreement on this new methodology in April 2020.
Although ICTs are a small part of the problem they are also an important part of the solution. Some studies estimate emission reductions of over 40%2 could be achieved through the application of ICTs by 2050, some five times what they are estimated to contribute by that time.
In Copenhagen, Dr Touré will join UN agency heads and industry leaders at the UNFCCC iSeeT@theClimateChangeKiosk to raise awareness of the power of technology to make a difference. Activities at the Kiosk include ITU’s special programme of daily Business Talks by leaders from across the ICT sector, and a presentation of ITU’s wide-ranging climate change activities.
In addition, ITU is holding a joint side-event with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) on the effective use of ICTs in climate change mitigation.
As part of ITU’s commitment to fighting climate change, Dr Touré recently joined the Green Cross Task Force, a top-level climate action group led by former president Mikhail Gorbachev and supported by many prominent scientific leaders and organizations.