Once again the ITU is representing the telecoms industry as it seeks to make politicians aware of how ICTs can provide practical means of cutting carbon emissions. Guy Daniels reports.
This week sees the annual gathering of the Climate Change Conference (COP17) in Durban, South Africa. Held under the auspices of the UNFCCC, the ten-day conference will once again seek a global mandate to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and work towards what Executive Sectretary Christiana Figueres says is a “climate-resilient future”.
Flying the flag for the telecoms industry will be the ITU, which is once again attending the meeting. Followers of TelecomTV’s Green Planet documentary series will recall the work done at the much-anticipated COP15 meeting in Copenhagen, most of which fell on deaf ears – it seemed that none of the politicians and regulators wanted to hear about how ICT can be used to help realise their aims.
Undeterred, and with the best wishes of (hopefully) the whole telecoms industry, the ITU is continuing its campaign. This time, it has formed a coalition with the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI).
Called the Global Coalition on ICT and Climate Change, it includes the UNFCCC Secretariat, the UN Global Compact, TechAmerica, and senior representatives from the governments of Ghana, South Africa and Egypt.
The message of this Coalition of the Willing is that ICTs – such as smart grids, intelligent transport systems and M2M – have the potential to reduce GHG emissions of other high energy-consuming industry sectors, and must be included in any meaningful climate change policies at the global, regional and national level. Dr Hamadoun Touré, ITU Secretary General, said:
“It is imperative that our massively interconnected world also becomes a greener, more sustainable world. Smart technologies will help to bridge the digital divide and improve the lives of millions – billions, even – of people. Look at the benefits which can be achieved with intelligent transport systems, or through the digitisation of goods, processes and services. We need to move now to take advantage of the powerful tools already in our hands.”
During the COP17 event, the ITU will showcase developments at its ‘ICT booth’ and release two new reports that show how ICTs have helped Ghana mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change. The UNFCCC will also stage an ICT Day and two side events will focus on the role of ICTs in environmental sustainability. Next Monday GeSI will launch the ‘Transformative Step of the Day’, highlighting transformative ICT solutions put forward during the COP-17 negotiations.
Let's hope the politicians are ready to listen this time...
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