GeSI's SMARTer2020 report demonstrates how the increased use of information and communication technology (ICT) such as video conferencing and smart building management could cut the projected 2020 global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 16.5%, amounting to $1.9 trillion in gross energy and fuel savings and a reduction of 9.1 Gigatonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (GtCO2e) of greenhouse gases. This is equivalent to more than seven times the ICT sector’s emissions in the same period.
This new research study identifies 16% more savings than was calculated in an earlier study conducted four years ago. The SMARTer2020 report evaluates GHG abatement potential from ICT-enabled solutions ranging across six sectors of the economy: power, transportation, manufacturing, consumer and service, agriculture, and buildings. Emission reductions come from virtualisation initiatives such as cloud computing and video conferencing, and also, through efficiency gains such as optimisation of variable-speed motors in manufacturing, smart livestock management to reduce methane emissions, and 32 other ICT-enabled solutions identified in the study.
The challenge facing many ICT-enabled abatement solutions is the lack of robust policies to address climate change. The report calls for concerted action by global policy makers to encourage the implementation of ICT abatement solutions. The SMARTer2020 report includes detailed national studies of the GHG abatement potential of ICT in seven countries, identifying how ICT is a critical tool in facilitating the transition to a low-carbon economy and providing specific guidance to policy makers on actions they can take to realize the significant GHG reduction potential outlined in the report. The countries studied were Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, India, the United Kingdom and the United States.