Specific mention of the critical role of ICTs in the Copenhagen draft Agreement will help commit policy makers around the world to seek technical solutions to reducing GHG emissions.
A recent study 1 estimated that more effective use of ICTs could help reduce total global emissions by 15% by 2020, representing carbon savings five times higher than the estimated emissions for the whole ICT sector in 2020. The Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI), of which ITU is a part, estimates that these reductions could deliver energy efficiency savings to global businesses of over EUR 500 billion.
Since the adoption of the Kyoto Protocol in December 1997, the number of ICT users has tripled worldwide, yet ICTs find no mention in the current draft COP 15 text.
If the ingenuity of technological innovation has had the unfortunate consequence of creating unforeseen environmental damage, ITU believes the same drive to innovate – fundamental to the human spirit – can be harnessed through ICTs to reduce carbon footprint across all industry sectors, and fight the impact of climate change through accurate monitoring and rapid disaster response.
ITU supports the view that successful strategies will require truly radical change, rather than incremental change to ‘business-as-usual’ approaches. ICTs are the only tool powerful enough to serve as the ‘circuit-breaker’ to our current climate-hostile strategies, and to effect the true paradigm shift needed to make a difference.