Berlin – On 17 February, GeSI and Deutsche Telekom partnered with the NGO Germanwatch to launch a report on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) can help Germany reach its climate targets while delivering economic benefits. The study, which builds on the GeSI #SMARTer2030 report, analyzes the German climate targets and the contribution ICT can give to their achievement. A detailed overview of the scope of work and key findings can be found in the below blog from the GeSI Chairman and Deutsche Telekom Group Climate Change and Sustainability Officer, Luis Neves.
The results of the study were presented by Accenture, who carried out the relevant research and which had already collaborated with GeSI to #SMARTer2030. Representatives from Deutsche Telekom, the Global Climate Forum, Agora Energiewende and E.on also joined and participated in a roundtable. The subsequent discussion with the over 70 attendees also touched upon the proposed law for the digitalization of the energy transition.
Germany is well known in Europe and in the world as one of the countries at the forefront of the fight to climate change. Since the 90s, the country has set very ambitious objectives to decrease greenhouse emissions and decarbonize its power supply. By 2050, the country wishes to have achieved reduction of greenhouse gas emission between a 80% to 95%compared to 1990 levels. To support the road to this important but not easy goal, mid-term targets were also put in place: a 40% decrease in emissions by 2020 and a 55% decrease by 2030.
To achieve these targets, the digital revolution taking place globally will be key. ICT, from the Internet of Things (IoT) to social media and mobile end-user devices, from big data analytics to cloud computing, can make a real difference in the efforts to tackle climate change.
The #SMARTer2030 report that was launched by GeSI in June 2015 analyzes 12 ICT use cases to quantify the potential of ICT to reduce global carbon emissions and deliver economic benefits. The country-specific outlook for Germany is an impressive one: by 2030 we can save 288 million tons of CO2e across all sectors, which is equivalent to the 83% reduction needed by 2030. The use of ICT-enabled solutions can also help deliver economic benefits for consumers and business in the order of €234 billion per year.
Where ICT can make the difference
Smart mobility and digital work are two good examples of sectors greatly benefitting from the adoption of ICT-based solutions.
Mobility is one of the pillars of the German economy, with two thirds of the population over 18 owning car. And unfortunately, despite the efforts made by the German government, emissions so far are not decreasing significantly. Based on the relevant figures of #SMARTer2030, ICT-enabled solution applied to the transport sector in Germany could save 45 million tCO2e by 2030:
- Traffic control and optimization (25 million savings) to make traffic, driving and parking more efficient;
- Smart logistics (12 millions savings) enabling route and load optimization;
- Connected private transportation (8 million savings), connecting people and vehicles with similar origins or destinations, incl. car sharing or carpooling.
Digital work and business
E-work and e-business are already well-known and used. While their transformative potential towards a climate-friendly economy is often ignored, they are both good examples on how ICT can reshape our work and business place:
- E-work (14 million savings) makes the workplace more flexible and improves interaction between co-workers across various locations;
- E-commerce (1 million savings) enables online shopping through secure cashless gateways;
- E-banking (0.03 million savings) enables the delivery of financial services through electronic channels, including the use of mobile money.
Call to strong action
With the ambitious targets it has set for itself, Germany has a unique opportunity to deploy the special weapon against climate change that ICT represents. Additional stakeholder actions from policy-makers, business leaders and consumers will also be necessary to reap the full potential of ICT-enabled climate abatement and business growth.