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ITU's Engagement: ICTs and Clean Technology

As the preeminent global body for standardization in the field of ICTs, ITU will work to limit and ultimately reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and foster sustainable development, in particular by promoting the use of more energy efficient devices and networks and the development of technical standards (Recommendations) to limit and reduce the power requirements of ICT equipment and services. Work also focuses on the mitigation of climate change in other industries – including the automotive sector – using ICTs.

  • Focus Group on ICTs and Climate Change (FG ICT&CC): The Focus Group on ICTs and Climate Change was established by TSAG at its 2-9 July 2008 meeting. The Focus Group will identify from the standardization viewpoint, within the competences of ITU-T, the impact of ICTs on Climate Change, in particular the reduction of ICT’s own emissions over their entire lifecycle (direct impact), the mitigation that follows through the adoption of ICTs in other relevant sectors (indirect impact), and facilitating the monitoring of relevant climate parameters.
  • Promote adoption of a resolution at WTSA-08 to require all new ITU-T Recommendations to be checked against energy saving and environmental criteria, and include target reduction percentage on energy requirements over the following study period.
  • ITU-T is coordinating the organization of two ITU Symposia on ICTs and Climate Change, which will take place in Kyoto, 15-16 April and in London 17-18 June 2008, with the results feeding into relevant meetings such as the OECD ministerial, the G8 summit in Japan, the UNFCCC and in particular WTSA-08. A call for papers/speakers has been issued, a resources website developed, and the first coordination meeting (by teleconference) was held on 21 Jan.
  • Through its Technology Watch function, ITU-T has issued a series of briefing papers relevant to climate change, on the topics of ICTs and climate change, telepresence (high-performance videoconferencing) and intelligent transportation systems (ITS). The climate change paper was reviewed by TSAG at its Dec 2007 meeting and adopted as a basis for launching a work programme in this area.
  • At its Dec 2007 meeting, TSAG approved a Liaison Statement to all ITU-T Study Groups (TSAG-LS-30), which invites them to assess all existing and new ITU-T Recommendations in the light of climate change.
  • On-going work standardization work on Next-Generation Networks (NGN) is being conducted through the NGN Global Standards Initiative. It is estimated that NGNs could reduce energy requirements by up to 40 per cent compared with today’s networks through a combination of reduced number of switching centres, more modern equipment with multiple power modes (e.g., VDSL2+), reduced requirements for air-conditioning, support for advance services, and more efficient routing of traffic.
  • ITU-R SG 6 (Broadcasting service) developed Recommendation ITU-R BT.1306-3, which serves as the basis for switching from analogue broadcasting to digital broadcasting. This new radio technology allows a significant reduction of the power consumption and, consequently, will significantly reduce GHG emissions over the World.
  • Based on ITU-R Recommendations the Regional Radiocommunication Conference 2006 (RRC-06), which involved 120 countries, developed a new digital broadcasting Plan GE06. GE06 Plan envisages significant reduction (by almost 10 times) of transmitter power and reduction of the number of transmitters (due to the possibility of transmitting several TV and sound programmes in one channel) Taking into account that there are roughly one hundred thousands transmitters in these countries with power of up to 100-150 kW each, most of them operating 24 hours a day the energy savings will be very much important.
  • The decision of the World Radiocommunication Conference 2007 (WRC-07) to publish series of maritime Service Publications in electronic form from 2011 (Resolution 335(WRC-07)) will save about 300 tonnes of paper per year as well as reduce the carbon emissions from transporting paper copies.
  • ITU-T has organized a series of “Fully networked car” workshops, the third edition of which will be held at Palexpo, Geneva, 5-7 March 2008, and includes a session devoted to ICTs and the environment.
  • ITU-R SG 5 (Terrestrial Services) developed ITU-R “Intelligent Transport System” - Handbook on Land Mobile (including wireless), Volume 4, which describes the use of radio technologies for minimizing transportation distances and cost with the positive effect on environment.
  • In order to facilitate introduction of new radio technologies and with the aim to reduce power consumption and GHG emissions, ITU-R in cooperation with ITU-D regularly organize regional seminars on the use of new radio technologies and application of Radio Regulations and Regional Agreements for new radiocommunication systems.
  • The ITU-T Director represented ITU and the International Conference to Combat Desertification, in Beijing, January 2008.
  • ITU-T SG 2 (Operational aspects of service provision, networks and performance) is working on the standardization of call priority in emergency situations (e.g., Recommendation E.106 on the International Emergency Preference System for disaster relief). One of the outcomes of this work is the assignment of a special E.164 country code (888) to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) for the purpose of facilitating the provision of an international system of naming and addressing for terminals involved in disaster relief activities. Work has started for the coordination of the assignment of channel numbers for cell broadcast alert messages in mobile networks. ITU-T, under the leadership of SG 2, coordinates the Partnership Coordination Panel on Telecommunications for Disaster Relief (PCP-TDR).
  • ITU-T SG 6 (Outside plant and related indoor installations) is considering, inter alia, environmental and safety procedures for outside plant, including the recycling copper and optical cables materials.
  • ITU-T SG 15 (Optical and other transport network infrastructures) is preparing a technical paper (“Energy-saving checklist for standardization activities”) investigating ways to reduce the power consumption of telecommunications equipment. The widespread availability of broadband access is facilitating the wider use of telecommuting. The paper is expected to be adopted at the Feb 2008 meeting, where a series of tutorials on energy-saving will be held, from 13-15 February. SG15 has also pioneered the use of questionnaire surveys as a prompt to standards-developers for increasing energy-efficiency.
  • ITU-T SG 16 (Multimedia terminals, systems and applications) is of particular importance in terms of standards for remote collaboration, such as the H series of ITU-T Recommendations on audiovisual and multimedia systems, including video-conferencing, which provide a means for people to collaborate at a distance without needing to travel.
  • ITU-T Study Group 17 (Security, languages and telecommunications software) has developed a new Recommendation X.1303, jointly with OASIS, which provides the basis for a common alerting protocol for use in advance of impending threats, such as tsunamis, typhoons or earthquakes.

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Updated : 2011-04-15