The European Commission (EC) called on Europe’s information and communication technologies (ICT) industry to outline the practical steps it will take to become 20 per cent more energy-efficient by 2015. ICT equipment and services alone account for about 8 per cent of electrical power used in the EU and about 2 per cent of carbon emissions. But using ICT in a smart way could help reduce energy consumption in energy-hungry sectors such as buildings, transport and logistics and reduce carbon emissions. It asks EU countries to agree on common specifications for smart metering.

“Making better use of innovative ICT solutions will help us meet Europe’s objectives of a low-carbon economy. The ICT sector can show the way to a more sustainable, environmental-friendly growth and give a boost to green jobs in Europe,” said Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for Information Society and Media, in a release.

The ICT sector must seize the chance to lead the way in energy-efficient technologies — not only because it is the best way to achieve sustainable cuts in CO2 emissions, but also because the ecological potential of these technologies can open up new business opportunities for European ICT companies, he added.

The Commission’s recommendation to the EU member states and the ICT sector aims to unlock energy efficiency potential through more public-private partnership initiatives like the ones recently launched by the Commission on energy-efficient buildings and green cars but also through partnerships between the ICT industry and defined strategic sectors.

Other examples of the ecological potential of ICTs mentioned in the text adopted by the Commission are: if Europe were to replace only 20 per cent of all business trips by video conferencing this could cut down more than 22 million tonnes of CO2 annually.

Also, the roll-out of broadband networks facilitating an increased use of online public services and applications could save at least 1-2 per cent of total energy use worldwide by 2020.

The Commission recommendation results from a public survey completed in September that confirmed the need for a coordinated approach by the ICT sector to improve its energy and environmental performance and the importance of common commitments to meet the targets set.

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