Saturday, 30 May 2009

High-level OECD Conference for ICTs, The Environment and Climate Change: High demand for calculating CO2 savings from low carbon ICT solutions

Quite a number of interesting presentations during the High Level OECD conference for ICT, the Environment and Climate Change. But what was really great was that we were allowed to arrange a last-minute side event about how calculations to assess the savings from low carbon ICT solutions should look like. I expected 4-5 people to turn up but over 20 people came to discuss and most with concrete ides and projects. Will put together a short questionnaire and collect the different initiatives.

Just during the 20 minutes there was a number of interesting projects presented. On the more practical level I particularly liked the new Japanese initiative with “Eco-points”. This is an innovative approach that could be further developed to ensure that efficiency measures will result in low-carbon feedback (investment in efficient solutions that reduce GHG emissions result in further reductions) instead or high-carbon feedback (often called negative rebound effects).

That ICT companies are starting to get their acts together was demonstrated by NEC. Botaro Hirosaki, Senior Executive Vice President, NEC gave an interesting presentation and included a slide where he showed that they formulated a vision already in 2003 to contribute with as much savings in society as they emit themselves. I hope they will aim for climate positive beyond that. (See picture for NEC slide).

Beside that it was great to hear The OECD Secretary-General, Angel Gurría talk about the need for ICT to deliver a low carbon development. He was very clear about the key role of ICT as a transformative technology. In a similar way Esko Aho, Executive Vice President, Nokia; Former Prime Minister of Finland also gave a very good presentation (in stark contrast to his colleague representing Digital Europe at ICT4EE in Brussels, see earlier blog). He also noticed that ICT is often forgotten and made a reference to the latest paper from Stern that totally ignored ICT as part of the low carbon solution.

It is fantastic to see this high-level support that only a year ago was not really there, but it is obvious that it will difficult to get a solution agenda accepted before the COP15. As COP15 will be a failure and not deliver anything close to the kind of solutions we need (unless something very unexpected happens) it is even more important to prepare for the post COP15 discussions. A Climate Positive agenda will help to ensure that policy makers and the general public realize that a rapid transition to a low carbon economy is not only possible, but will be an exciting journey with companies that are see a sustainable future as an opportunity and create job opportunities (This is sharp contrast to most car and power utilities today do).

I really want to thank Graham Vickery from OECD and Henrik Kjaer from the Danish National IT and Telecom Agency, as they arranged for the small calculation event to get squeezed in the last minute into an already very tight schedule.