The broadband bridge linking ICT with climate action for a low carbon economy

The report aims to raise awareness of the pivotal role information and communication technology (ICT)

Climate change is among the biggest challenges humankind has ever faced. No country will remain untouched: some may experience extreme weather events, others severe drought, or sea level rises, resulting in the loss of coastal areas. World leaders, based on scientific consensus from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have for several years been working towards a goal of preventing temperatures from rising more than two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Farenheit) to contain the most severe risks and consequences of climate change. This will require substantial reductions of greenhouse gases (GHG), in particular CO2 —a daunting task that can only be achieved with transformation to a low-carbon economy.
Tackling climate change requires coordinated global action—indeed this is the focus of the global climate negotiations held within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It is only through a unified approach based on crosssectoral
collaboration by governments, the private sector, international organizations and civil society that we can achieve the necessary conversion to a low-carbon economy. Incremental measures are not enough. But governments can accelerate the pace of transformation by integrating the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) such as broadband networks, services and applications, with climate change policy to set their countries on a forward-looking course while working to meet national development and poverty reduction goals.
Broadband is the gateway to the networked economy. Its potential to transform the way we work and live opens a door to new business models and growth opportunities at a time when many countries are struggling to jumpstart their economies from a period of financial crisis.
Creating a low-carbon economy means transitioning from the energy-intensive physical infrastructure of the 20th century to the innovative, connected, information-based infrastructure that will be the hallmark of the 21st century. Governments that recognize the opportunities broadband offers for addressing a range of socio-economic goals as well as climate action, are making the expansion of affordable, reliable broadband access a key priority, with positive economic results.

This report aims to show how broadband can contribute to reducing GHG, as well as mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change. To fulfill this potential a new policy framework is required. To illustrate this, this report showcases best government practices in mobilizing ICT to reduce GHGs and build inclusive societies. This report proposes 10 recommendations for policy makers that we believe would hasten and strengthen the ability of ICT and broadband to accelerate global progress towards the low-carbon economy and further progress towards achieving the four targets set by the Broadband Commission.

This report is based on interviews and supporting material from more than 20 leaders and experts in the field, spanning a broad stakeholder group of industry, government, academia and international organizations. This includes several members of the Broadband Commission, representatives from several national governments, and other experts. The interviews were complemented by relevant reportsand data.

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