Digital Solutions for supporting the achievement of the NDC

Understanding how ICTs can support ambitions on climate action in low- and middle-income countries to achieve nationally determined contributions NDC goals

Achievement of more ambitious NDCs for any given country will require action and innovation on many levels. This report focuses on the technological level; specifically, how digital technologies can assist the achievement of the NDCs of seven show-case countries, taken into consideration their particular circumstances, such as digital infrastructures and existing power sources.

This report presents mitigation and adaptation potentials that can be achieved with digital technologies by 2030 for seven countries: Brazil, Chile, China, India, Kenya, South Africa, and Vietnam. In addition, four relevant sectors are analysed for greenhouse gas emissions mitigation:

  • Power
  • Transport
  • Manufacturing and construction
  • Agriculture

Finally, emissions resulting from the use of digital technologies have also been analysed to put the results in perspective.

In order to take into account differing ambition levels, digital abatement potentials were assessed for two scenarios: a reference scenario that reflects current country policies including the NDCs, and an ambitious decarbonisation scenario that reflects the country reductions needed to approach the goals of the Paris agreement. 

Obtained from the Digital with Purpose report, this report defines digital technologies in its assessment:

  • Digital Access
  • Fast Internet
  • Cloud
  • IoT (Internet of Things)
  • Cognitive
  • Blockchain

Further illustrating specific examples of these digital solutions in action, the second half of this report presents relevant case studies and the carbon abatements potentially achievable through them. In addition to assessing the contribution which digital solutions can make to mitigation of climate change, this report also assesses how digital solutions can assist in adaptation to it in the target countries.

Main Findings
Taken together across all seven countries the level of potential carbon abatement is significant, with 1.1Gt of CO2e in the case of the reference scenario and 2.1Gt of CO2e in the case of the ambitious decarbonisation scenario. These values can be compared to the total 2014 baseline footprint for the four sectors across all seven countries of 13.2 Gt of CO2e and the projected 2030 footprint for the four sectors across all seven countries under business as usual conditions of 21.8 Gt of CO2e.

Of all four sectors, the highest abatement potential (1043 Mt CO2e in the ambitious decarbonisation scenario) lies in the power sector, across both supply and demand intervention points. In the case of China for example, the digitally enabled accelerated decarbonisation abatement of 777 Mt CO2e is equivalent to decommissioning over 170 average Chinese coal-fired power plants.

"The best NDCs of these countries can only be effective if the required support outlined in the plans is delivered," said Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). "I am confident that going forward, the ICT sector will play a key role in helping countries design ever more ambitious climate action plans, which are crucial to avert the worst impacts of climate change and to fully grasp the multiple opportunities of the zero-carbon economy." 

GeSI thanks its members, partners, and external stakeholders for their support in the development of this comprehensive report, namely Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the German Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), International Telecommunication Union (ITU), and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). 

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