The use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) can play a pivotal role in reducing greenhouse gases, helping countries to cope with climate change and monitoring and warning about natural disasters before they happen, according to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).
The ITU report entitled Using ICTs to Tackle Climate Change (PDF) was released on Tuesday as part of the Global e-Sustainability Initiative.
The report touches on a number of tangible ways in which ICTs can offer benefits, such as reducing travel through videoconferencing, and cutting paper use with e-ticketing, e-billing and online media.
The rising use of smart grid technology, meanwhile, is a key way in which companies are beginning to use ICT to manage energy reserves more efficiently.
The ITU also noted that standardisation work in the technology sector will deliver benefits by creating a universal, energy-efficient mobile phone charger to reduce waste when developing these components, for example.
"ICTs are uniquely powerful tools for reducing emissions in every other sector. They also play an essential role in climate science," said ITU secretary general Hamadoun Touré.
"They offer one of the most significant opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, especially in industries that are among the highest producers of CO2, such as energy generation, waste disposal, construction and transport."
The report's release coincides with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change conference in Cancun, Mexico.
"I call on the international community to recognise that ICTs must be a key component of efforts to mitigate climate change, and that ICTs support what climate change threatens most: sustainable development," Touré added.
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