ICT has a vital role to play in combatting climate change. New systems will not only be more energy-efficient themselves, but technology can be employed to monitor both emissions and climate change itself.
This is according to the International Telecommunication Union,in a statement at the UN Conference on Climate Change in Bali, Indonesia that demonstrates the part played by ICT as both a cause and a potential cure for climate change.
Highlighting activities that address climate change, ITU states that ICT can be used for remote monitoring of climate change and gathering important scientific data – for instance, using telemetry or remote sensing by satellite.
In addition, smart technologies can usher in a whole new generation of energy-efficient products, notably in next-generation networks (NGN) where ITU's Standardization sector (ITU-T) is carrying out vital specialised work.
The conference, which ends tomorrow (14 December) brings together representatives of over 180 countries together with observers from intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, as well as the media.
ITU points out that the proliferation of ICT products in homes and offices, and their deployment throughout the world, places an increasingly heavy burden on energy consumption. The late night glow in homes and offices emanating from computers, DVD players, TVs and battery chargers is all too familiar.
And the move to "always-on" services, like broadband or mobile phones on standby, has greatly increased energy consumption compared with fixed-line telephones, which do not require an independent power source. Energy demands caused by high-tech lifestyles in some countries are now being replicated in others.
The organisation underlines an active commitment to promote the use of ICT as a positive force to reduce greenhouse emissions and to find ways to mitigate the effects of climate change.
ITU can support and facilitate scientific studies aimed at implementation of new measures against the negative effects of climate change. As part of a unified effort of the UN system, ITU can contribute in its areas of expertise to support Member States and to foster partnerships with the private sector to develop more energy-efficient technologies.