Published on: 2011-05-23

Six month before COP17: new study shows significant differences amongst countries in national communications to UNFCCC

Today, six months before the start of the 2011 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP17), to be held in Durban, South Africa, the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) presents the first findings of its research into low-carbon Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) leadership amongst governments.

The purpose of GeSI’s Low-Carbon ICT Leadership Benchmark is to support governments and other stakeholders wishing to integrate low-carbon ICT solutions into their climate change agenda. Many good examples exist around the world both with regard to supportive policies and their implementation, ranging from concrete targets for the roll-out of ICT solutions such as teleworking (e.g. Japan) to references to dedicated low-carbon ICT strategies where the exports of low-carbon ICT solutions are promoted (e.g. Denmark). 

Rank Country Total index score
1 Japan 85
2 Denmark 65
3 Germany 65
4 Ireland 59
5 European Union 55
6 Netherlands 55
7 Australia 53
8 Finland 53
9 Romania 53
10 India 44

The first round of the Low-Carbon ICT Benchmark assesses leadership in the national communications to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), which set out how governments are implementing their commitments under the Kyoto Protocol. Initial findings show that Japan ranks first place, and stands out as a clear leader, although Denmark, Germany and other European governments including the European Union as a whole are not far behind. The study also covers the BASIC bloc (Brazil, South Africa, India and China). These countries have focused on an ICT solution agenda and, not surprisingly, have all scored well with India making the top ten. In anticipation of a successful COP17 outcome, it is encouraging that emerging economies focus on low-carbon ICT opportunities and, in some cases, to a greater extent than many developed countries.

Luis Neves, Chairman of GeSI, commented on the initial findings of the study: “The ICT industry must continue to work with governments to ensure that adequate policy frameworks are in place to enable the transition to a low-carbon economy. By highlighting low-carbon ICT leadership amongst governments, GeSI seeks to encourage a race to the top in the run up to COP17 so that ICT is included in strategies as a key enabler in tackling climate change and creating sustainable business models and growth opportunities.”

The preliminary findings from GeSI indicate the need for integration between ministries to ensure that low-carbon ICT solutions are given appropriate attention in climate negotiations. Over the coming months GeSI will continue to work with stakeholders including ITU, OECD, UN Global Compact and the Broadband Commission to assess different aspects of low-carbon ICT leadership in the run up to COP17 at Durban. In collaboration with the South African government, and other interested stakeholders, GeSI is now preparing an assessment framework for COP17. The final results will be launched this autumn on a dedicated web portal. GeSI hopes this will encourage governments to integrate low-carbon ICT solutions into COP17 and support a 21st century climate change agenda beyond Durban such as at Rio+20.

Download the press release.

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 fight against climate change. As the world currently discusses 80% carbon reductions, or even more, it is clear that transformative low-carbon ICT solutions that provide services in new ways whilst creating sustainable growth and jobs are needed, not just incremental improvements to existing systems. The ICT sector can help provide both clusters with solution providers and transformative solutions that can help countries deliver 80% or more reductions. Still many countries only include measures resulting in incremental improvements in existing systems and improvements on the supply side in their national communications to the UNFCCC.
  • GeSI’s research follows on from the launch of its “Guadalajara ICT declaration for transformative low-carbon solutions”1 at COP16. The Low Carbon ICT Leadership 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. For a full list of criteria and the full scores for the top ten governments, please contact GeSI. The assessment is being conducted by Dennis Pamlin who advises GeSI on global climate policy issues.

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