G20 nations can use ICT to build a low carbon economy

G20 nations can use ICT to build a low carbon economy

IDC identifies technologies to reduce carbon emissions.

A new report from IDC highlights the role of information and communications tecnologies to curb almost almost 5.8 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions by 2020. In addition to the results of the study, IDC released its first ICT Sustainability Index, in which the G20 nations have been ranked on their ability to reduce their CO2 emissions through the focused use of ICT. Japan received the highest ranking in the index. It aims to create a transparent ranking of the G20 industrial nations based on their CO2 emissions and their ability to manage the CO2 levels using ICT.

IDC says it selected the G20 nations as these represent 75 percent of the global GDP and total CO2 emissions. The group is composed of Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia South Korea, South Africa, Turkey, United Kingdom, the US and a European Union Representative.

The study examined the potential of 17 technologies to reduce CO2 emissions in four major economic sectors (energy generation and distribution, transport, industry and building) across the G20 nations.

The research was conducted by IDC and jointly sponsored by Fujitsu, Hitachi, HP, Intel and Schneider Electric.

The technologies had to meet three simple and clear criterions so that any nation could implement them. The requirements were the technologies had to be mature enough to be implemented within three years, support significant processing or network bandwidth and be a discrete ( stand on its own merits) technology that wasn’t part of another application. The research identified 17 technologies for four major industry sectors: energy, transport, buildings and industry.

Within the energy generation and distribution sector, which has the biggest potential savings, renewable energy management systems (part of “Smart Grids”) offer the best opportunity to reduce CO2 emissions, says IDC.

The research says China has the biggest opportunity in this sector, with the potential to save almost 200 million tons of CO2 using these technologies.

Within the transport sector, the leading investments in ICT would be within the supply chain logistics and private transport optimisation. IDC says the US has the largest opportunity within this sector and could reduce its 2020 CO2 emissions target by more than 500 million tons.

ICT-based solutions for buildings have as much CO2 savings as the energy and transport sectors do. Energy management systems and intelligent building designs offer up the most opportunity of all technologies or nearly 12 per cent of all G20 energy savings, reports IDC.

Finally, for the industry sector, savings might be made using intelligent motor controllers, with China having the largest opportunity here.

As expected, China and the US have some great opportunities ahead of them,” says Roberta Bigliani, research director at IDC Energy Insights. “The use of software solutions offering energy management systems should be a key focus for them and all of the G20 nations.”

In announcing the results of the first ICT Sustainability Index, IDC associate vice president Chris Ingle noted that the index was created to allow nations to be fairly compared to each other on their ability to reduce CO2 emissions and to sustain their economies and environments, through the investment in and application of ICT.

The results of the ICT Sustainability Index showed that Japan was the leading G20 nation by a considerable margin over the US (second), Brazil, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom (tied for third). Other national rankings included South Korea (11th), China (12th), India (13th), Russia (15th), and South Africa (19th). The full ranking list can be found in the report.

“Japan received the top spot by being able to balance its CO2 creation and use, with its GDP, its transportation network, its building infrastructures and its ICT investments, to establish a sustainable economy and environment,” says Vernon Turner senior vice president of IDC's Enterprise Infrastructure, Consumer and Telecom Research. “Special mention should go to Brazil for its strong position in the ranking as the leader from all of the emerging nations.”

The ICT Sustainability Index is part of IDC's holistic Green initiative, created in 2008 to help decision makers understand the role of technology in addressing the challenges and opportunities amidst current energy, environment and sustainability requirements.

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