[daily trust] Information and Communication Technology (ICT) plays major roles in climate change mitigation and adaptation. This is increasingly being recognized within the climate change technology transfer negotiations because according to the World Development Report 2010, the use of ICT is predicted to reduce total greenhouse gases by 15 per cent by 2020.
Beyond climate change mitigation, ICT has a prominent role to play in realizing Nigeria's Vision 2020 mandate of building a large, diversified, sustainable and competitive economy that harnesses the energies and talents of its people and guarantee high standard of living and quality of life for its citizens. The convergence between climate change mitigation and meeting growth targets is particularly important to Nigeria.
Overtime, the impact of ICT on sustainable development has often been underestimated by policy makers. The importance of this sector can be felt in the construction of ICT enabled energy efficient buildings and electric appliances, manufacturing, logistics and power grids. Others include ICT enabled business models, markets and lifestyles. It plays essential roles in monitoring, modeling, administration and dissemination of climate change information and technology.
It has other indirect positive impact on the environment, for instance, through its role in increasing general per capita wealth through productivity, GDP growth and boosting the social well being of the populace. It also helps in addressing the poverty situation in the country.
It is clear that ICTs, as both general purpose and specific technologies, are necessary in order to monitor, model, administrate and disseminate climate change activities.
ICT products are used for environmental monitoring such as monitoring of weather and climate change, deforestation using satellite imagery, environmental modeling, and computer simulations of climate change.
Other administrative uses include carbon trading schemes, dissemination including information sharing, environmental advocacy reduction, physical mail and paper use.
Online purchasing; use of e-government services, video-conferencing, telemedicine, and teleporting and other remote working arrangements are all ICTs use in climate change monitoring.
Though ICTs are instrumental to greenhouse gas mitigation, it is also estimated that the ICT sector and ICT products are currently responsible for about 2% of global GHG emissions. Unfortunately, the high rate of growth in ICT penetration and increases in processing power means that, without mitigation, the harmful contributions of ICT are likely to grow quickly.
For ICTs to contribute to mitigation and adaptation of climate change, the following actions are suggested at different levels.
At the national level, there should be a clear policy and regulatory framework for the implementation of ICTs, which will impact on the level of education and skill of potential practitioners.
Nigeria must make ICT education compulsory in both secondary and tertiary schools to promote early use of energy efficient equipment.
At the global level, where there are international partnerships and influence, synergy is required to implement technology transfer to facilitate the fight against climate change. The developed parties should ensure the transfer of software technologies which are easier and less cumbersome and which will promote climate change mitigation in developing countries. Encouraging ICT development in Nigeria will ultimately inspire local innovations and will promote the use of sustainable sources of energy.
As Nigeria prepares its mitigations strategy, the role of ICT in meeting a high economic growth and low carbon economy must be central. In doing so, the linkage between climate change mitigation and meeting the targets of the Vision 2020 will be strengthened.
ICT and Climate Change, an Important Linkage