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Linking ICT with climate action for a low-carbon economy

Governments can accelerate transformation to a low carbon economy by promoting and integrating ICT within climate change policy. This view is presented by the Broadband Commission in this report based on interviews and supporting material from more than twenty leaders and experts in the field. The first three chapters deal with the path to transformation (potential for mitigation or adaptation and the greening of the ICT sector), setting the framework (obstacles and challenges, and selecting the right policies and market conditions) and digital pioneers. The last chapter provides information on such topics as intelligent communities, smart buildings, empowering customers and smart stakeholder partnerships. The report then presents six case studies, which analyse strategies and approaches in countries around the world. These include the multi-sectoral implementation of ‘smart-grids’ in Australia, India’s ambitious plans to connect all settlements of 500 or more people to broadband by 2015, the openness and transparency of Sweden’s multi-sectoral collaboration within their Digitisation Commission and South Korea’s attempt to ‘smartify’ their public transport system.

The paper concludes with the following ten recommendations for governments.

  1. Lead with vision by adopting long-term strategies based on universal, affordable and accessible broadband.
  2. Align ICT policies to converge with other areas, such as energy, health and climate to maximise impact.
  3. Give commitments regarding climate and broadband policy and regulations to ensure investment certainty.
  4. Encourage cross-ministry collaboration and integration in decision-making to align climate and digital goals.
  5. Identify and remove inhibitive regulation discouraging research and investment in the current ICT infrastructure and low carbon solutions.
  6. Reward and encourage consumer behaviour to uptake low-carbon solutions and support innovation among individuals, companies and sectors.
  7. Fund scalable pilots as an enabler of low carbon solutions by demonstrating feasibility and effectiveness to potential private investors.
  8. Cultivate partnerships across public, private and non-governmental sectors to develop a collaborative mindset, shared goals and break down silos.
  9. Harmonise metrics and measurements for calculating both ICT’s environmental impacts and its positive contributions.
  10. Disseminate project findings, share best practice and learn from mistakes through an integrated, trans-sector approach to digital development, infrastructure and low carbon solutions.