A new report published by the Broadband Commission and supported by ITU and UNESCO has drawn attention to the important role of technology in achieving a low carbon future.
Building on the agreements achieved at the 2011 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP-17), the report aims to raise awareness of the pivotal role information and communication technology (ICT), and particularly broadband networks, can play in helping creating a low carbon economy of the future, and highlights the importance of public private partnerships in accelerating change. It provides practical examples of how broadband can contribute to reducing greenhouse gasses (GHGs), mitigating and adapting to the effects of climate change, and promoting resource efficiency, while at the same time building more prosperous and inclusive societies.
The report’s launch has been well timed ahead of the 2012 United Nations Conference on sustainable Development (Rio+20) taking place in Brazil in June.
The report presents ten recommendations from the Broadband Commission for policymakers and global leaders to hasten and strengthen the power of ICT and broadband to accelerate global progress towards a low-carbon economy:
1. Lead with vision: adopt a long-term National Broadband Plan/Strategy based on universal affordability and accessibility, open markets and innovation, and consciously connect this to your climate goals.
2. Bring convergence: Bring convergence to ICT policy formulation so that it aligns with other policy areas such as energy, health, education and climate in order to maximize impact.
3. Ensure regulatory certainty: Ensure clear regulatory rules and regulations on climate and broadband to create a framework of investment certainty.
4. Be an example: drive cross-ministry collaboration and integrated decision-making to align climate and digital goals, and use government procurement to send the right market signals.
5. Foster flexibility: identify and remove the regulatory and policy barriers currently hindering research and investment in 21st century ICT-based broadband-enabled infrastructure and low carbon solutions.
6. Provide incentives: encourage uptake of low-carbon solutions and support market change by rewarding or incentivizing desired consumer behaviours. Spur innovation among individuals, companies and sectors.
7. Build the market: fund and facilitate scalable pilots to demonstrate feasibility and effectiveness of broadband as an enabler of low-carbon solutions and build a strong business case to attract private investment.
8. Form partnerships: cultivate connectivity and ‘co-creativity’ across public, private and non-governmental sectors and industries to help develop a collaborative mindset, shared goals and a common language, and to help break down silos.
9. Measure and standardize: develop harmonized metrics and measurements and common standards for calculating both the environmental impacts of ICTs and the positive contribution technology can make to other sectors – from individual products to systems, and from individual households to the city and/or national levels.
10. Share knowledge and raise awareness: actively disseminate project findings, share best practice and learn from mistakes to identify success factors and facilitate leapfrogging, especially among less developed markets. Communicate the opportunities and synergies that can be achieved through an integrated, trans-sector approach to digital development infrastructure and low carbon solutions.
Download the full report.