Video conferencing and smart building can cut GHG emissions by 16.5% by 2020: BCG

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Video conferencing and smart building can cut GHG emissions by 16.5% by 2020: BCG

Greentech Lead Asia: A Boston Consulting Group (BCG)
study said increased use of ICT such as video conferencing and smart building
management can cut global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 16.5 percent by
2020, amounting to $1.9 trillion in gross energy and fuel savings. 

According to SMARTer2020, concerted action by
policy-makers can encourage the use of ICT to save 9.1 Gigatonnes carbon
dioxide equivalent (GtCO2e) of greenhouse gases from being emitted.

The potential for information technology to reduce global
carbon emissions has been under-estimated until now, and that the abatement
potential of ICT is seven times the size of the ICT sector’s own carbon
footprint.

Up to 16.5 percent of global GHG emissions can be slashed
by implementing ICT solutions throughout the economy — over 16 percent more
savings than was calculated in the earlier study four years ago.

GHG abatement potential from ICT-enabled solutions
ranging across six sectors of the economy: power, transportation,
manufacturing, consumer and service, agriculture, and buildings. 

Emission reductions come from virtualization initiatives
such as cloud computing and video conferencing, but also through efficiency
gains such as optimization of variable-speed motors in manufacturing, smart
livestock management to reduce methane emissions, and 32 other ICT-enabled
solutions identified in the study. 

Some ICT-driven solutions such as smart electricity grids
reap benefits at the national level, whilst others like intelligent building
management systems can result in energy — and cost – savings for individual
households and businesses.

For India, emissions growth has been exacerbated by poor
transport and energy infrastructure, and heavy reliance on fossil fuels. The
study targets the potential for GHG abatement in India from adopting
ICT-enabled solutions in its power and transport sectors. The other countries
studied were Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United
States.

Already, several well known groups are adopting green
policies. For instance, Futitsu Group has launched a project to reduce carbon
footprint. The project has two approaches- “of ICT” and “by ICT”. “of ICT”
focuses on reduction of environmental impact of ICT products and the other
emphasizes on introduction of environmental solution through ICT.

“The core technologies had to pass three tests: they had
to be mature enough to provide real benefits within three years, support
significant processing on a network, and be discrete independent technologies,”
said Philip Carter, associate research director for Green IT & Sustainability
Research on CO2 reduction model.

Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UNFCCC,
said: “It is critical that the world captures every last bit of energy
efficiency, if we are to reduce greenhouse gas emissions enough to keep below
dangerous rises in temperature.”

“This study shows that information and
communications technology can achieve even greater savings than we previously
thought – as much as $1.9 trillion annually by 2020,” said Philipp
Jung, a San Francisco-based partner at BCG.

[email protected]

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