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  • 3. Limitations of ICT in Fighting Climate Change
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1. Freedom of Expression

    a. Online information and disinformation
    b. Online debates and criticisms

The Internet is easily accessed by anyone who has a computer and internet connection. With user-friendly web platforms such as websites and blogs available throughout the Internet, any individual is able to express their opinions freely and easily. As such, people who are social dissents have posted articles and videos that decry the validity of the scientific truths of global warming, specifically the causes behind global warming. Such information is readily viewed by the international audience, and could distort truths and mislead people to dismiss efforts taken at reducing greenhouse gases emissions.

There is a website call "GlobalWarmingHoax.com", setupped a few kinds of features, like Forums, newfeeds, in order to gather the voice which is against validity of scientific truths, including videos, news, and articles. To show the climate change from a "historical and common sense perspective", and above all the perspective of dissenting scientists. The audience can share or bookmark the article easily by using the tools provided in website such as facebook, google, yahoo, etc.

Also, some video clips were posted to internet to decry the truths, such as expressing vehement opinions against the notion that global warming is driven by man. See here.

2. ICT's Two-fold Role

As seen in section 2, ICT serves as a major linchpin in the efforts to fight climate change. The versatility of ICT does not merely stop at empowering people at work, education and personal living; the appropriate harnessing of the power of ICT would aid in reducing carbon gas emissions into the atmosphere. However, ICT is in fact also a contributor to the upward spiral of greenhouse gas emissions.

The Global ICT Footprint

In 2007, analysis conducted by Gartner, a leading information technology research and advisory firm based in Stamford, has pointed out that the intense use of the Internet has contributed to 5.3% of the world's energy consumption while ICT in general is responsible for around 2% of the world's Greenhouse gases emissions [1]. In addition, the ICT industry's own carbon footprint is predicted to grow at 6% annually and double by 2020 due to greater uptake of technology in China and India, the two economic powerhouses, as well as the rest of the world [2].

The global study predicts PC ownership will quadruple between 2007 and 2020 to 4 billion devices and emissions will double over the same period, with laptops overtaking desktops as the main source of global ICT emissions (22 per cent); mobile phone ownership will almost double to nearly 5 billion accounts to 2020 but emissions will only grow by four per cent; and broadband uptake will treble to almost 900 million accounts over the same period, with emissions doubling over the entire telecoms infrastructure.

The ICT sector must manage its own growing impact and continue to reduce emissions from data centres, telecommunications networks, and the manufacture and use of its products.

3. Inability of ICT to stand as an independent solution

Although ICT is increasingly being recognised as one of the strongest candidates among all industry sectors to lead in the fight against Climate Change, ICT alone is insufficient to conclude sustained success.

ICT needs to be complemented with other solutions or measures to improve and support its role in fighting climate change.

a. Support by environmental organisation, communities and governmental authorities
    - Government regulation
    - Information and education
    - Research and development

Steve Howard, CEO, The Climate Group, said: "PCs, mobile phones, and the web have transformed the way we all live and do business. Global warming and soaring energy prices mean that re-thinking how every home and business uses technology to cut unnecessary costs and carbon is critical to our environment and economy. Supported by innovative government policy, ICT can unlock the clean green industrial revolution we need to tackle climate change and usher in a new era of low carbon prosperity."

Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Director, UN Environment Programme (UNEP), said: "This rigorous assessment underlines that the world can realise a green economy and make the transition to a low carbon economy. It also underlines the crucial importance of the international community reaching a deal on a new climate agreement at the climate convention meeting in Copenhagen in 2009. [This study]... gives us yet another platform for action and yet another compelling reason for reasoned optimism."
b. Research and implementation of other Science and Technology[3]
    - Geothermal Energy
    - Wind Power
    - Solar Energy
    - Hydropower
    - Hydrogen fuel


References:

1. ITU.(2008). ITU and Climate Change. Retrieved on November 9th 2008, from http://www.itu.int/themes/climate/
2. GeSI.(2008). SMART 2020: Enabling the Low Carbon Economy in the Information Age. Retrieved on November 9th 2008, from http://www.gesi.org/index.php?article_id=210&clang=0
3. US Department of Energy.(2008)._Energy Sources._Retrieved on November 9th 2008, from http://www.energy.gov/energysources/index.htm





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