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 Friday, June 03, 2011
In a time of growing carbon emissions, ITU invites the global community to look at the ICT sector as a solution provider to achieve emissions reductions

Two new releases from the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the World Bank published this week during the 2011 Carbon Expo have raised significant concerns about the current trends in carbon emissions and the attainment of the targets pledged during the 2010 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP16/CMP6), held in Cancun last December.

According to the latest IEA estimates, energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2010 were the highest in history, while 80 per cent of projected emissions from the power sector in 2020 are already locked in, largely due to infrastructure investment. IEA concludes in the 2010 World Energy Outlook that it will be extremely challenging to succeed in limiting temperature increase to 2°C by 2020 and thus, achieving the global goal agreed in Cancun, unless innovative alternatives are explored. “These estimates are another wake-up call”, highlighted IEA chief officials.

From a different angle the report, The State and Trends of the Carbon Market 2011, produced by the World Bank, highlights the decline of the carbon market over 2010 both in terms of carbon trading transactions and market value. According to the report, “2010 proved to be the hottest year on record, while global emission levels continued to rise relentlessly”. Following the latter opposite trends between carbon market growth and emissions levels, the authors of the report predict that in their efforts to shift to lower carbon development paths, “other national and local low-carbon initiatives will pick up in both developed and developing economies ... to overcome regulatory uncertainty and signal that, one way or another, solutions that address the climate challenge will emerge”. Nevertheless, the report underlines the “risk of losing billions of lower cost private investment and new technology solutions in developing countries” offered via carbon market tools.

ITU, closely following these last technical assessments, invites the global community to look at the ICT sector as a solution provider to meet the goals agreed in Cancun. Information and communication technologies (ICTs), such as satellites, mobile phones or the Internet, can enable countries to take up transformative solutions to deploy innovative, energy efficient and low-carbon technologies that ensure a better, “greener” and sustainable future. The ICT sector is already committed to improve its own environmental impact, as well as to help improve the carbon footprint of other sectors.

Learn more about ITU’s work in this area by joining us at the side event “Linking ICTs with the Cancun Agreements” to be held on 7 June 2011 in Bonn, Germany, during the forthcoming UN Climate Change Talks.

Find more information about ITU’s activities on Climate Change at: www.itu.int/climate.