Forging a path toward environmental sustainability
It has been estimated that ICTs could cut GHG emissions by as much as 15%, through:
In addition, the ICT industry is working to reduce its own carbon footprint, which currently amounts to about 2-2.5% of global emissions. According to the International Energy Agency, if ICT power consumption continues to grow at 15% a year, it will represent 40% of global electricity use by 2030. By contrast, for every watt of energy saved by a billion users of ICT equipment, a whole power plant is no longer required.
ITU is supporting the drive to green the ICT sector and to mitigate climate change in a variety of ways. One of the key ITU deliverables in this area has been the development of a set of common methodologies for measuring the industry’s environmental impact. This standardized methodology, endorsed by ITU members in September 2011, will allow ICT companies to measure their own carbon footprint and to estimate the reduction in GHG and energy consumption that use of ICTs can bring about in other sectors.
ITU is encouraging its members to introduce new technologies such as next generation networks (NGNs) that can cut emissions by 40%. ITU is conducting and managing studies on the use of ICTs to improve climate monitoring and the definition of new standards to promote more resource-efficient ICTs. A key example of this is adoption by the industry of a universal energy-efficient charger for mobile phones. The one-size-fits-all universal charging solution, which can also be used for data transfer, will be safer, use eco-friendly materials, avoid the need to produce duplicate cables and end the wasteful disposal of millions of redundant chargers, saving an estimated 13.6 million tonnes of CO2 and 82,000 tonnes of redundant chargers every year. ITU is also studying the potential for standardizing batteries for mobile terminals and other ICT devices that could lead to a reduction of the harmful materials used in batteries and an increased lifespan for ICT products.
ICTs are crucially important in keeping watch over the earth’s climate and weather, and in warning of impending natural disasters. Thousands of lives are saved every year through monitoring systems that use data from satellites as well as sensors on land and sea. To ensure that these operations can be undertaken without interference, ITU allocates the necessary frequencies and approves technical standards. It is currently studying the use of submarine cables telecommunications cables on the ocean floor for ocean and climate monitoring and disaster warning systems.
ITU is also raising awareness of the role of ICTs in climate change at the UN Climate Change Conferences, promoting knowledge exchange on the subject at the global level. ITU is a member of the joint UN initiative “Greening the Blue”, aimed at ‘greening’ the operations of the UN system as a whole; adoption of a paper-free working environment and the increased use of remote participation at ITU meetings and events are some of the actions ITU has already taken.
Visit www.itu.int/climate for further information on ITU’s climate change activities.
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|The 7 Billiion Actions
initiative is convened by UNFPA, the United
Nations Population Fund with support from
partners from the private and public sector.