Published on March 8th, 2015 | by Guest0
Using ICT to battle climate change
Climate change – a serious problem
Climate change and global warming are serious issues that are threatening the earth today. With increasing carbon and greenhouse gas emissions and increasing energy requirements, there is need to adopt a more environment-friendly approach in every sector, including the field of information and communication technology.
ICT sector – current situation
To make any improvements or start to progress towards a greener approach in the ICT sector, it is very important to understand just where the sector stands today and what is the current situation of the ICT sector with regards to the rapidly occurring climate changes.
Compared to other sectors, the ICT sector is accountable for only a small fraction of greenhouse gas emissions. According to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), this is a mere 2 to 2.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions. This can further be broken down into fractions. 15% of this can be traced to fixed-line telecommunications and 9% can be traced to mobile communications. Local Area Networks and office telecommunications account for 7% of the total greenhouse gas emissions owing to information and communication technology.
The ICT sector is not responsible for emitting a lot of greenhouse gases at the moment, but the usage of ICT is anticipated to increase a lot in the coming years, and if the right measures are not taken, the contribution of the ICT sector to global greenhouse gas emission is estimated to double by 2020. That is, reducing the ICT sector’s carbon footprint is necessary to prevent it from being responsible for 4% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Reducing the carbon footprint
The carbon footprint of a sector or a company is the total emission of greenhouse gases for which that organization or sector is responsible. At the moment, the information and communication technology sector does not have a very large carbon footprint, but it is necessary to reduce it due to the growing use of information and communication technology. There are ways to reduce the carbon footprint, of course, and already, there are techniques which are being employed so that the information and communication technology sector can be greener. Let us take mobile networks, for instance. The amplifiers and base stations used in these are now engineered in such a way that they use a smaller amount of power than before. The use of renewable energy resources like wind and solar energy is being increased in mobile networks. Fiber optic cables are being used in fixed networks to reduce energy consumption. The cooling systems in information and communication technology hardware are being made more energy efficient.
Providing alternative solutions
It is one thing to reduce the carbon footprint of the information and communication technology sector. Another thing which the sector can do to help counter climate change is to provide alternative solutions for activities which cause greenhouse gas emissions. For example, if people require transport to commute to someplace in order to execute some task, the transport related emissions can be reduced by enabling that task to be done over a network.
Gary Keller is a renowned writer and a contributor of this article. Her articles can be read at ordercollegepapers on topics related to information and communication technology, which include an insight on the recent developments and the changing trends in the ICT industry.