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 Wednesday, 13 October 2010
Enabling a low carbon future: the key role of ICTs to address climate change

The second PP’10 side event focused on ICTs and climate change.


Speakers included Malcolm Johnson, Director, Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB), ITU; Kevin Grose presenting remotely from UNFCCC Bonn; Sechwyo Nzima, Ministry of Comms and Transport, Zambia; Javier Camargo, Ericsson; Alejandro Vidal, Telefonica and Chae-Sub Lee, Chairman of ITU-T Study Group 13.


Johnson’s introductory speech noted that when ITU first started work in the field people were sceptical about the link between ICTs and climate change. He noted that ITU’s many initiatives have helped to raise awareness of the issue to the extent that there is now widespread understanding of the power of ICTs to achieve reductions in greenhouse gas emissions across all industry sectors.


He cited CO2 savings of some 108 tonnes in 2007, as consequence of distributing ITU-T standards (ITU-T Recommendations) online compared to on paper as an example of how the secretariat is working to become greener.


Johnson also announced that ITU is working with Ghana to develop a country assessment on how ICTs can help to combat climate change in accordance with UNFCCC guidelines.


Kevin Grose of UNFCCC which holds its COP16 meeting in Cancun, Mexico in December gave his remote presentation focusing in part on the need for mitigation actions to be reflected in the developing world. He highlighted accounting standards, partnerships and technology transfer as necessary to boost the ICT industry’s efforts to green itself and help towards general GHG mitigation.


ITU will participate in various activities at COP16, including organizing a side event with UNIDO, UNDESA, and WIPO; speaking at a side-event organized by WMO, UN-Habitat and WHO. In addition, the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) is organizing a Tech Fair to be held in Cancun (5-8 December) in which ITU will participate.


Chae-Sub Lee of ITU-T’s Future Networks Study Group (Study Group 13) showed how next generation networks (NGNs) being deployed around the world are more energy efficient – by an estimated 40 per cent – than previous public switched telephone networks (PSTNs).