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ITU’s call to Copenhagen: ICTs must be part of the solution

ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun Touré urges COP15 delegates to look to the enormous potential of high-tech solutions to cut emissions across all sectors

Geneva, 4 December 2009 — 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 2010.

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. For the full programme, see

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.

Dr Touré and Mr Johnson will also participate in a press conference on Wednesday 16 December from 09:30-10:30, alongside other outspoken advocates for technical solutions to the climate challenge, including incoming Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg, and Lasse Gustavsson, CEO of WWF Sweden. The event will be webcast live — for full details see:

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.

For further information, please contact:

Sarah Parkes
Senior Media Relations Officer
Tel: +41 22 730 6135
Mobile: +41 79 599 1439
Onsite in Copenhagen:
Toby Johnson
Senior Communications Officer
Tel: +41 22 730 5877
Mobile: +41 79 249 4868



CO2e – carbon dioxide equivalent – is a standardized measure of GHG emissions designed to account for the different global warming potentials of GHGs.


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Updated : 2009-12-07