Climate Change and "Information and Communication Technologies"

Here are some excerpts from the speech by Dr. Hamadoun Touré at the Green Cross International general assembly which I attended last week in Geneva. I thought they were quite relevant especially to my other activities in the ICT world:

§ I am here today as one of the newest members of the GCI’s Climate Change Task Force – and I am deeply honoured to join a group which is led by President Mikhail Gorbachev and which includes Nobel Peace Laureates, the Club of Rome, the Club of Madrid, and other very distinguished members.

§ Those who know me well, know that I am an optimist. And as an optimist, I am positive that we can succeed.

§ There was an interesting interview last week on CNN’s website with another optimist, Mark Lynas, a British journalist and environmental expert. He said: “we need to try and change the language used to discuss climate change, from all about burden sharing, to opportunity sharing. That's a big mental shift, it's a big political shift and it's a big economic shift,” he added.

§ And he’s right. This is all about opportunity.

§ Information and Communication Technologies – ICTs – will play a vital role in helping us win this battle.

§ Indeed, I would go further, and say that without ICTs we cannot possibly hope to win.

§ ICTs are the single most powerful tool humankind has at its disposal to avoid potential climate catastrophe. While technology contributes around 2.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions, more efficient use of modern technologies could cut global power consumption by 15%.

§ ICTs help to reduce waste, cut business travel and make industry more efficient.

§ New technologies being developed within ITU – such as Next-Generation Networks – can reduce network and data centre power consumption by up to 40%.

§ The universal charger, which has just been standardized by ITU, will deliver a 50% reduction in standby energy consumption, eliminate up to 80,000 tonnes of redundant chargers, and cut GHG emissions by at least 13 million tonnes annually.

§ Satellites are also tremendously important – not just in monitoring, but in helping increase food output and reduce emissions. Satellite-based intelligence services for farmers, for example, which cost less than US$ 15 per hectare annually, can increase yields by as much as 10%. And using satellite monitoring produces 98% fewer emissions than ordinary ground monitoring