ICTs can move the climate change agenda forward
Technology offers practical means of cutting
Geneva, 25 November 2011 – ITU, together with a coalition of
industry partners, will be working to convince delegates at the UN COP 17
climate change conference in Durban next week to harness the power of
information and communication technology (ICT) to promote mitigation and
adaptation to climate change.
Today’s advanced technologies can transform social, industrial and business
processes to effect the changes needed to achieve sustainability. But while the
potential of ICTs to make a real difference is widely recognized by the
technology community and government ICT ministries, it is still far from being
understood and embraced by environmental lobby groups and policymakers.
ITU and its partners will be using COP 17 to promote ICTs as the 21st
century’s most valuable problem-solving tools. ITU believes it imperative that
they be included as an integral part of global climate change policy.
To this end, ITU and the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) have
initiated the Global Coalition on ICT and Climate Change to send a coordinated
message to the 2011 UN Climate Change Conference. Organizations in the coalition
include the UNFCCC Secretariat, the UN Global Compact, TechAmerica, as well as
high-level representatives from the governments of Ghana, South Africa and
The coalition’s message is simple: ICTs such as smart grids, intelligent
transport systems and the ‘internet of things’ have extraordinary potential to
reduce the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of other high energy-consuming
industry sectors, and must be included in any meaningful climate change policies
at the global, regional and national level. As a proof point, the coalition is
also showcasing how the ICT industry is using technology to reduce its own
Dr Hamadoun Touré, ITU Secretary General: “It is imperative that our
massively inter-connected world also becomes a greener, more sustainable world.
‘Smart’ technologies will help to bridge the digital divide and improve the
lives of millions – billions, even – of people. Look at the benefits which can
be achieved with intelligent transport systems, or through the digitization of
goods, processes and services. We need to move now to take advantage of the
powerful tools already in our hands.”
The COP 17 programme
During the 10-day conference, the coalition will undertake a number of
initiatives to get the message across. An ‘ICT booth’ hosted by ITU will
showcase presentations on ICT and the environment, and two new ITU reports will
be presented showing how ICTs have helped Ghana mitigate and adapt to the
effects of climate change.
UNFCCC will stage an ICT Day on the 1st of December, and will host a “Virtual
Participation Centre” with video conferences, presentations, exhibits and
interactive private sector participation. In addition, two side events will
focus exclusively on the role of ICTs in environmental sustainability: ‘ICTs and
Adaption’, organized by UNFCCC, and ‘ICTs and Mitigation’ co-organized by
TechAmerica and GeSI, and including contributions from ITU and UNFCCC.
Completing the suite of green ICT events, on the 5th of December GeSI will
launch the ‘Transformative Step of the Day’, highlighting transformative ICT
solutions put forward during the COP-17 negotiations.
ITU spokespeople are available in Durban and Geneva. Please contact
Toby Johnson: firstname.lastname@example.org, +41 79 249 4868.
Note to editors:
www.itu.int/themes/climate/events/cop17/index.html for supporting proof
points and quotes which may be used in news stories.
The next ITU Symposium on ICTs, the Environment and Climate Change will be
held in Montreal, Canada, 29-31 May 2012. Remote participation will be
available. ITU strongly encourages this form of participation as it enlarges the
event’s audience without enlarging its carbon footprint.
For more information, please contact:
Senior Communications Officer,
Chief, Media Relations and Public Information