Carbon Disclosure Project 2011
GHG emissions of around 2% is set to more than double by 2020, the sector could decrease emissions in other sectors by 15% and save $946.5 billion through energy efficiency.15
c) ICT has broader social benefits in the way we live, work and play. These are discussed in more detail in section 4.
We believe that in the future, economic value will reside in virtual data, in bits and bytes, at a higher proportion than exists today and away from physical products, embedded in atoms and molecules. Investment in broadband will help accelerate businesses’ and society’s ability to trade physical for virtual goods and make efficient, cleaner practices the norm.
ICT could help the U.S. reduce emissions annually by an estimated 13-22% and potentially see gross energy and fuel savings of $140-$240 billion.16
Paul Dickinson’s vision of the future enabled by broadband
“Some of the norms of society today astound me. Hundreds of thousands of business executives fly around the world each day to attend conferences and meetings; each morning newspapers across the globe are printed, distributed and each evening they are thrown away; commuters travel in hoards from their homes to work in offices, and at these offices printers churn out vast quantities of digital documents that soon fill the recycling bins. All of these activities are contributing to the increasing greenhouse gas emissions which cause climate change. They are also costing time and money. For example, traffic congestion cost the U.S. approximately $115 billion in time and fuel in 2009 as the average urban driver spent approximately four days in traffic*.
This needs to change. We have the technologies and economic drivers to catalyze this change at our fingertips. Future corporate and societal change will come from the ICT sector rather than the old industries.
In the future the daily commute will be the exception and not the rule. People will be able to collaborate with their colleagues around the world through a video connection by their desk or near their homes. That’s not to say that there is no benefit to meeting
* Bloomberg Businessweek January 20th, 2011.
our colleagues in person, but it is by no means necessary for efficient day to day operations. This decreased need to commute will mean that people in rural communities are not excluded from city-based commerce. There may also be additional social benefits for communities – if you don’t commute so often you can spend more time in your local area, support the local community and enhance quality of life. Through video communications, education and healthcare will be revolutionized. Children should be able to access an Ivy League education from anywhere in the world and many patients who need specialist care will be able to access it from their homes.
As far as what we consume is concerned, I see the trend towards consolidated devices taking hold. From our smartphone or tablet we will be able to access our newspapers, books and music, find out about local events, and pay for goods. The overarching theme is that we can improve standards of living across society whilst decreasing carbon emissions.
The critical challenge for the 21st Century is to massively reduce greenhouse gas emissions while ensuring we don’t reduce the standards of living citizens and
leaders have worked so hard to attain. In order to achieve this we need a whole new infrastructure. In the 19th century we built trainlines across the globe to transport coal and other natural resources. Now we need to build a new form of transportation – communications transport, in the form of broadband. Increased investment in fixed and mobile broadband and full utilization of existing spectrum in mobile will create an advanced network that can provide a 21st century communications driven economy where economic opportunities are not limited by time, distance or geography.
The essential character of this communications economy is that growth is not limited. It is a natural progression; not fighting nature but mirroring it. The act of consuming electronic media creates new assets. What does a world with a billion broadcasters look like? Science, art and human culture feed off themselves. Education, entertainment and information know no limits.
The key to unlocking the potential of these technologies is an efficient and reliable communications network.”
Executive Chairman of the Carbon Disclosure Project.
15. The Climate Group, 2008. Smart 2020: Enabling the low carbon economy in the information age. Available from http://www.smart2020.org/_assets/files/02_Smart2020Report.pdf
Last accessed June 16th, 2011.
16. The Climate Group, 2008. Smart 2020: Enabling the low carbon economy in the information age. United States Report Addendum. Available from http://www.smart2020.org/_assets/files/Smart2020UnitedStatesReportAddendum.pdf
Last accessed June 16th, 2011.
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