New benchmark shows growing support among governments for innovative ways to tackle climate change
Today, at ITU Telecom World 2011 in Geneva, the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) launched a new benchmark and web-portal that for the first time make it possible to compare national approaches to the adoption of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) solutions for climate change.
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GeSI’s “Low-Carbon ICT Leadership Benchmark” tracks governments’ support for innovative solutions to tackle climate change across a number of different policy areas. In relation to broadband plans, the benchmark positions Japan, USA and Germany as world leaders. All three countries scored 70 points or more, on a scale from 1 to 100, for integrating low-carbon ICT solutions in their broadband strategies. These findings show that in many countries, the perspective is changing.
“It is encouraging that almost all governments who develop broadband strategies today pay attention to the potential of ICT to enable the transition to a low-carbon economy” said Luis Neves, Chairman of GeSI. He added: “Instead of viewing the need to reduce carbon emissions and increase resource efficiency as a problem, we see growing recognition of the business case for low-carbon ICT solutions and greater efforts to support innovation across a range of policy areas”.
GeSI has identified a number of practices that can lead to a favourable policy environment for the roll-out of low-carbon ICT solutions globally. These practices range from mainstreaming low-carbon ICT solutions across key policy areas to conducting studies to measure their emission savings. Setting emission reduction, investment and job creation targets for low-carbon ICT solutions also feature among the recommendations.
“GeSI’s Low-Carbon ICT Leadership Benchmark provides a useful perspective - leading governments aren’t necessarily those who focus on penalising polluters but those who support the next generation of solution providers” highlighted Elaine Weidman Grunewald, Co-Chair of GeSI’s Public Policy Working Group. She continued: “We hope our work can contribute to a race to the top among governments when it comes to fully leveraging broadband infrastructure for a low-carbon society”.
The time has come for a step change in thinking from addressing problems to delivering solutions. In one month’s time the global climate negotiations will begin in Durban. GeSI in cooperation with the UNFCCC secretariat and a coalition of stakeholders will introduce the award “Transformative Step of the Day” at COP17. The award will track and reward low-carbon leadership during the negotiations and encourage governments to put forward new and innovative ways to solve the climate change challenge.
GeSI’s Low-Carbon ICT Leadership Benchmark is available at www.global-ict-leadership.net
Notes to editors:
There is growing recognition that the time has come to focus more on solution providers, not just the big emitters, in the global dialogue on climate change. As we approach the global climate negotiations in Durban, it is clear that low-carbon ICT solutions which provide services in new and better ways while creating sustainable growth and jobs are needed, not just incremental improvements to existing systems. The ICT sector can play a key role in bringing together solution providers and delivering solutions that can help achieve 80% or more carbon reductions while providing the same or better service.
GeSI’s Low-Carbon ICT Leadership Benchmark follows on from the launch of the “Guadalajara ICT Declaration for Transformative Low-Carbon Solutions” at COP16 . The benchmark is based on 15 criteria ranging from the inclusion of ICT solutions in national communications to the UNFCCC to the integration of such solutions in key areas such as smart buildings, smart grid, smart transport, energy efficiency and innovation. Dennis Pamlin, who advises GeSI on global climate policy issues, developed the benchmark on GeSI’s behalf. For further information, visit www.global-ict-leadership.net