Ladies and gentlemen,
Climate change is arguably the greatest challenge ever faced by the human
And at ITU we are taking climate change very seriously indeed – and continuously
looking at ways in which we can contribute towards better climate monitoring and
use the positive benefits of ICTs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Climate monitoring, of course, is what WCC-3 is all about – the ability to use
better climate information for a better future.
And I am proud to note ITU’s important contribution in this respect.
For many years we have had an excellent collaboration and partnership with WMO.
WMO focuses on meeting the needs for environmental information.
ITU, for its part, ensures the necessary frequencies are available to allow the
interference-free operation of radio-based applications and radiocommunication
systems – both terrestrial and space – which are used for climate monitoring and
prediction, weather forecasting and disaster early warning and detection.
The use of radio technologies and systems for environmental and climate
monitoring has been a longstanding concern at the ITU, dating back to the
International Radio Conference of Atlantic City, 1947 – where ITU Member States
included the Meteorological Aids Service (MetAids) in the Radio Regulations, and
allocated the necessary radio-frequency spectrum for MetAids applications.
Successive ITU World Radiocommunication Conferences have taken into account
WMO’s need to ensure the availability and protection of radio-frequency bands
for observation tools such as radiosondes, weather and wind profiler radars, and
space-borne infrared and microwave sounders.
In recognition of the vital importance of environmental monitoring, WRC-07
allocated additional spectrum for systems that are used for monitoring climate
And in 2008, the ITU Radiocommunication Study Groups initiated additional
studies and developed Recommendations on the further development of
remote-sensing applications – which should improve the precision of climate
monitoring and the prediction of climate change.
As the most recent samples of close ITU/WMO cooperation I may mention the
ITU/WMO Handbook "Use of Radio Spectrum for Meteorology: Weather, Water and
Climate ate Monitoring and Prediction" and the First ITU/WMO seminar with the
same title on 16-18 September.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The science of environmental and climate monitoring has benefited enormously
from the parallel advances which have been made in ICTs – and today ICTs play an
absolutely critical role in all global monitoring activities.
Examples range from the radio-based remote sensors which relay data to control
centres from radiosondes, aircraft and satellites, to the automatic weather
stations which are now starting to close the ground-level weather observation
gap in Africa as part of the ‘Weather Info for All’ initiative which was
launched in June by the Global Humanitarian Forum here in Geneva.
ICT systems and networks also play a vital role in processing and delivering the
huge volumes of data necessary for climate prediction.
And ITU’s work – particularly in the implementation of digital broadcasting and
the development of next generation networks – is itself directly helping to
reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Digital broadcasting, for example, results in a massive – almost ten-fold –
reduction in the power consumption of broadcasting transmitters. And the actual
number of transmitters can also be reduced by transmitting several programmes in
one frequency channel.
Next generation networks, for their part, could reduce energy requirements by up
to 40 per cent, compared with today’s networks, through a combination of fewer
switching centres, more modern equipment with multiple power modes, reduced
requirements for air-conditioning, support for advance services, and more
efficient routing of traffic.
I am confident that the work we do here this week will not just have a positive
influence on the Copenhagen Climate Conference in December, but will, in the
broader sense, increase awareness of the need for – and the benefits of – ICTs
as a key enabler for more accurate and more useful environmental and climate
Long before Copenhagen, however, we are staging ITU Telecom World 2009 here in
Geneva at the beginning of October. So let me close, therefore, with an open
invitation to you all to attend this important event – which will feature ‘Green
ICT and Climate Change’ as one of the main thematic topics of the forum debates.