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Focus Group on ICTs and Climate Change (FG ICT&CC)
Draft Terms of Reference

(Adapted from TSAG Temporary Document 659)


1. Scope

The Focus Group, established in accordance with ITU-T Rec A.7, 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. 

2. Rationale

As demonstrated during the ITU Symposia on ICTs and Climate Change, held in Kyoto 15-16 April and London, June 17-18, ICT has three major relationships with Climate Change:

  • ICTs are contributing directly to Climate Change, in particular to the production of Greenhouse Gases (GHG) (e.g. power consumption, proliferation of ICT devices, recycling of material, etc.)
  • ICTs can also be applied in various sectors of industry, to reduce the impact of their operations on climate change, for instance by substituting for travel;
  • ICTs can also be used to monitor climate parameters (e.g. networks for environmental monitoring, Ubiquitous Sensor Networking).

From the standardization perspective, the overall objective is to develop international standards in these three areas to contribute to the reduction of climate change.

3. FG Objectives

The FG should analyze and identify gaps in the areas of definitions, general principles, methodology and appropriate tools to characterize the impact of ICTs on Climate Change and support the development of appropriate international standards.

4. Relations in and outside ITU-T

The FG should work in close collaboration with all ITU-T Study Groups (e.g. through collocated meetings, see section 10), for instance on the coordination of tutorials and workshops.

In order to avoid duplication and overlap of work, the FG should also cooperate and coordinate its work with the other ITU sectorsi (ITU-R, ITU-D)ii, and with other relevant bodies outside ITU-T (SDOs, Fora/Consortia, regulators, policy-makers) in accordance with ITU-T Rec A.7.

5. Specific tasks and deliverables

5.1 Definitions

The FG, based on existing terms and definitions used in ITU, should:

  • identify the terms and definitions (including units, see section 5.3) needed to analyze the three major relationships between ICTs and Climate Change;
  • identify differences between existing terms and definitions;
  • develop and propose new definitions where necessary (gaps).
Deliverable: Report on terms and definitions, September 2008

5.2 “Gap analysis”

The FG should:

  • analyze the energy-saving measures that ICTs would have, directly and indirectly (e.g. on transport), on Climate Change;
  • identify which measures need to be standardized;
  • perform a “gap analysis”iii of these measures, based on the ongoing activities inside and outside ITU-T;
  • develop and propose a roadmap for future work within ITU-T.

Deliverable: Report on the “gap analysis” and proposed roadmap, December 2008.

5.3 Methodology

The FG should develop a methodology to describe and estimate present and future user [energy] consumption of ICTs over their entire life-cycle. This should include:

  • a calculation methodology of energy consumption saved through ICT utilization;
  • the definition of basic units relevant to the cases considered;
  • the identification, gathering and processing of relevant parameters (e.g. user behaviour);
  • the principles and tools to measure and evaluate the results;
  • a list of examples of the uses of how ICTs can replace or displace other energy-consuming technologies/uses;
  • an analysis of existing standards and a proposal for the development of new standards, if needed.

Deliverable: Report on Methodology: Interim report, December 2008; Final March 2009

5.4 Direct and indirect impact of ITU-T standards

The FG should develop tools (e.g. Checklists) and guidelines to allow ITU-T SGs to evaluate, for each Question, the possible future CO2E (carbon dioxide equivalent) reduction of technologies in terms of direct emissions from ICTs and possible savings in terms of Climate Change mitigation from the use of ICTs.

Deliverable: Proposed Tools and Guidelines, December 2008.

6. Conveners

Chairman and Vice-Chairman will be appointed by TSAG.

7. Participation

See clause 3 of ITU-T Rec A.7.

8. Administrative support

See clause 5 of ITU-T Rec A.7.

9. General financing of the FG<

See clauses 4 and 10.2 of ITU-T Rec A.7.

10. Meetings

The FG should use remote collaboration (for instance, by establishing a ‘ wiki’) to the maximum extent, and collocation with existing meetings (e.g. SGs), to minimise its own emissions, and to reduce the impact on its budget.

11. Milestones and duration of the FG

The following milestones are proposed:

  • Establishment of the FG: TSAG meeting, July 2008
  • Start of the work by correspondence: immediately after TSAG
  • First physical meeting of the FG: September 2008
  • Deliverables according to section 5:
    • 5.1: September 2008
    • 5.2 and 5.4: December 2008 
    • 5.3: March 2009 
  • Termination of the FG work: April 2009
  • Final report to the parent group: to be defined.

12. Parent Group

TSAG: under the powers granted in WTSA-04 Resolution 22.

i     ITU-wide collaboration and cooperation strategies should also be considered given the high priority nature of climate change across the entire Union.

ii    The FG should take into account the existing Resolutions, Recommendations, Reports and Handbooks of the ITU-R and ITU-D Sectors.

iii   In this context, “gap analysis” is taken to be a study of the current work on ICTs and climate change being undertaken by standards development organisations and an evaluation of which issues are not receiving sufficient attention, or of required tools and metrics that are not sufficiently well-developed.


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Updated : 2008-07-15