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Universal phone charger standard approved

One-size-fits-all solution will dramatically cut waste and GHG emissions. "ICTs are an essential element of an effective Copenhagen climate agreement," says Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré

Geneva, 22 October 2009 — ITU has given its stamp of approval to an energy-efficient one-charger-fits-all new mobile phone solution. The announcement comes as ITU lobbies hard to have the essential role of information and communication technologies (ICTs) recognized in the draft Copenhagen Agreement as a key part of the solution towards mitigating climate change.

Every mobile phone user will benefit from the new Universal Charging Solution (UCS), which enables the same charger to be used for all future handsets, regardless of make and model. In addition to dramatically cutting the number of chargers produced, shipped and subsequently discarded as new models become available, the new standard will mean users worldwide will be able to charge their mobiles anywhere from any available charger, while also reducing the energy consumed while charging.

The new UCS standard was based on input from the GSMA, which predicts a 50 per cent reduction in standby energy consumption, elimination of 51,000 tonnes of redundant chargers, and a subsequent reduction of 13.6 million tonnes in greenhouse gas emissions each year.

Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB), Malcolm Johnson said: "This is a significant step in reducing the environmental impact of mobile charging, which also has the benefit of making mobile phone use more straightforward. Universal chargers are a commonsense solution that I look forward to seeing in other areas."

Standardization of the solution within ITU was completed by Study Group 5 - Environment and Climate Change, and will hasten broad adoption by industry. Based on the Micro-USB interface, UCS chargers will also include a 4-star or higher efficiency rating - up to three times more energy-efficient than an unrated charger.

Barcelona Climate Change Talks

ITU’s participation in the forthcoming UNFCCC Climate Change Talks in Barcelona (2–6 November) will stress the significance of ICTs as a major cross-sectoral tool in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. A recent study estimated that more effective use of today’s ICTs could help reduce total global emissions by 15 per cent by 2020, representing carbon savings five times higher than the estimated emissions for the whole ICT sector in 2020.

Since the adoption of the Kyoto Protocol in December 1997, the number of ICT users has tripled worldwide, yet the importance of deploying ICTs to significantly cut emissions is not recognized in the current draft text.

Alongside partner agencies, and with the support of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, ITU will be working closely with conference negotiators in Barcelona to ensure the text that will be presented to the Copenhagen Climate Conference acknowledges the key role of ICTs in finding solutions to the climate crisis. TSB Director Malcolm Johnson will chair an event at the Barcelona Climate Change Talks on 5 November on ‘ICTs and Climate Change’, where ITU and OECD, in partnership with the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI), will invite top decision-makers from world governments, international organizations and industry to share their views and innovative ideas on new ways of using ICTs to address climate change.

Recent high-level meetings between ITU officials and CTOs from the ICT industry have endorsed ITU’s belief that innovation and technologies are key to achieving ambitious emissions reductions, and have expressed concern that this has not yet been reflected in the draft Copenhagen text (see ‘CTOs urge ITU to lead global standards shake-up.’)

In addition, ITU Members attending the current session of ITU’s annual governing Council taking place in Geneva (20-30 October), endorsed ITU’s work on environmentally friendly technical standards, and urged national administrations to develop proposals related to the role of ICTs in mitigating climate change for incorporation in any new UN Agreement at the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

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For further information, please contact:

Sarah Parkes
Senior Media Relations Officer
ITU
Tel: +41 22 730 6135
Mobile: +41 79 599 1439
E-mail:
Pressinfoitu.int 
Toby Johnson
Senior Communications Officer
ITU
Tel: +41 22 730 5877
Mobile: +41 79 249 4868
E-mail:
toby.johnsonitu.int

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Updated : 2009-10-22