Meena Menon

Emissions from the ICT sector are as high as aviation

Countries can work together for a solution

ICT is a high mortality industry

MUMBAI: The ever expanding Information Communication Technology (ICT) sector contributes two per cent of the total greenhouse gas emissions and this is all set to double in the future. Few know the emissions from the sector are as high as aviation, one of the worst offenders. Yet ICT can come to the rescue of the problem with smart solutions that are energy efficient, according to a new report by a U.K.-based, independent non-profit organisation, The Climate Group and the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI).

Thrust areas

The report, SMART 2020, which was released in Mumbai recently, highlights the transforming potential of the ICT sector. It explains how smarter use of technology could reduce global emissions by 15 per cent and save global industry €500 billion in annual energy costs by 2020, transforming the way people and businesses use technology. Four thrust areas have been identified — efficient power grids, building automation, improved logistics and motor systems efficiency.

Of particular relevance to India is the study on smart grid technologies which could reduce carbon emissions substantially. Reducing transmission and distribution losses in the power sector by 30 per cent is possible through better monitoring and management of electricity grids, first with smart meters and then through integrating more advanced ICTs into the so-called energy internet, the report says.

Jim Walker, global Chief Operating Officer (COO) of The Climate Group, said the organisation was set up five years ago in five countries and was now creating an outreach in India.

The GeSI is a network of IT companies and it mainly focuses on how ICT can be applied to other sectors to reduce energy use. Personal computers, mobile services are a rapidly growing sector and there was enormous potential through applications to reduce emissions by five times. Better management of electrical grid systems could save power and now with a diverse range of potential new applications, total saving of energy could cross €600 billion by 2020, said The Climate Group’s adviser, Mr. V. Raghuraman, who is also an advisor to the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) on energy, environment and climate change. The suggestions by The Climate Group have received an enthusiastic response in India particularly from the Ministry of Power.

The Indian government is committed under the Accelerated Power Development and Reforms Programme (APDRP) to reduce transmission losses by 15 per cent and the Ministry is keen on open source metering, which is one of the key areas for increasing efficiency.

“We have a solution framework and instead of confronting, we have to learn to collaborate,” he added.

Mr. Raghuraman admitted that ICT was a high mortality industry and moved very fast and e-waste was a major issue. However, it was not averse to change.

That is a great advantage as the sector can provide solutions and there is no reluctance to change. ICT per se is the main thing and performance is the key to reducing energy, he said.

The CII is enthused by the low carbon economy and the idea is to provide elegant solutions instead of squabbling.

Countries together can look at constructive ways of solving issues, he explained.

Partnerships

The Climate Group is an enabling company which helps governments by providing case studies to prepare strategies on policy decisions and share best practices by improving the flow of information. It also identifies new ways of collaboration between sectors by working with governments and businesses. As part of this effort, 50 or so organisations have signed up to a set of principles and share best practices.

The more we look at a low carbon economy the more convincing it is that it means more jobs, efficiency, security and this is an economic opportunity, says Mr. Walker.

The Climate Groups mission is to accelerate the low carbon economy by building close partnerships with the world’s most influential businesses and governments, by engaging and convening the 1,000 most influential individuals on the carbon intensity of the world economy, and by launching and incubating a number of strategic initiatives with members and partners.