It's time to include the private sector in the climate change conversationUnited Kingdom
The climate challenges are daunting. The planet is warming, the ice is melting, and emissions continue to creep upwards. It is up to every individual, company and sector to do their part to reduce carbon emissions. But will it be enough? According to Professor Carlota Perez at the London School of Economics, in order to maintain our current lifestyles in the year 2050, and allow for emerging markets to reach similar standards of living to developed markets, we would need seven planets. This underscores the urgent need to make big changes on the one planet we have.
In my role as vice president of sustainability at Ericsson, I have been working with environmental issues for over a decade. Sustainability used to be just about compliance and control, but no longer. Today the topic is being discussed in the boardroom, and at dinner tables, where both challenges and opportunities are debated. Increasingly companies like Ericsson want to engage in the debate to put forward their competence, their innovation, and their technology as part of the solution. Climate negotiations have historically been viewed as the business of governments, but now it is time to include the private sector in the conversation.
To reach the emission reduction targets needed requires new ways of thinking. As the world struggles for solutions to the climate challenge, it won't be incremental changes that will solve the problem, but transformative ones.
Transformative change is what information communications technology (ICT) can deliver. Today there are over 1bn fixed access points and 5 billion mobile subscribers, and by 2020 we estimate there will be 50bn connected devices. A conservative estimate is that 15% of global CO2 emissions could be offset by 2020 with the smart application of ICT in electricity grids, transportation, and buildings.
These networks and devices will consume power, and our sector will continue to focus on reducing our own emissions which are currently less than 2% of the global total. The untapped opportunity is to use ICT for "climate positive impacts" in other industries responsible for the remaining 98% of emissions. The pace of technological change in the ICT sector clearly outpaces that of government policy development, but it's time to connect the two.
The ICT-sector can't do it alone, but with the right supporting policy framework and public-private partnership to implement solutions, we can take a step toward solving the climate challenge.
While I don't have unrealistic expectations of one global agreement, I am hoping for more of a movement, or a change in attitude. We need more progressive and more proactive forward thinking in climate negotiations.
I participate in many industry forums and often feel that speaking within our industry is like preaching to the choir. It is time to get the message out to policymakers. On December 8, in Cancún, the ICT sector will do just that. Industry leaders will present the Guadalajara declaration, recommendations and solutions developed as the result of nearly one year of work in the Global eSustainability Initiative (GeSI) and the Broadband Commission for Digital Development. I personally hope for something big to happen at COP16. What if Mexico is the place where a solutions agenda is established?Elaine Weidman-Grunewald is vice president of sustainability and corporate responsibility for the Ericsson Group worldwide
El contenido de las noticias que se presentan en esta sección es responsabilidad directa de las agencias emisoras de noticias y no necesariamente reflejan la posición del Gobierno de México en este u otros temas relacionados.
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