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These findings were announced by Ericsson, as representatives from around the world gather in Doha, Qatar, to participate in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change's eighteenth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 18).
The findings are based on the SMARTer 2020 report released by the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) in Doha earlier this week. GeSI, which counts Ericsson as a founding member, estimates that ICT can reduce CO₂ emissions by 16.5% in 2020. Significantly, the projected reductions, which are based on "business as usual" estimations, are over 45% higher than the United States' reported per capita emissions of 18MT.
"The need for CO₂ reductions has, for too long, been seen as a trade-off between economic interests and protecting our planet. This does not have to be the case and ICT solutions, which can achieve both economic and environmental goals, should be part of the climate discussion," said Joe Battikh, Head of Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility, Ericsson, Region Middle East. "As we continue to evolve into a Networked Society, where everything that can be connected will be connected, we need to leverage this connectivity in order to protect our planet without sacrificing economic productivity."
Ericsson's 'Five-Step-Plan for a Low Carbon Urban Development' - produced in collaboration with the World Wildlife Federation - recommends that ICT takes a central role in strategies targeting reduced emissions, particularly in using low carbon technologies as viable alternatives to 20th century physical infrastructure.
"At Ericsson, we believe there is a need to address the challenge of reporting infrastructure emissions when estimating the carbon footprint of different products and services," said Matilda Gustafsson, Sustainability Director, Ericsson. Speaking at an event titled the "Broadband Bridge Panel", Gustafsson highlighted the role that broadband services and solutions play in sustainable transformation within the Arab region and announced the launch of the Arabic version of the "The Broadband Bridge" report first released in September at the United Nations General Assembly.
She continued: "We see that the focus of emission reduction efforts is on the manufacturing and use of products, and not on the supporting infrastructure. We need to adopt transformative solutions, such as teleworking or even smart public transport to truly be able to make an impact on our collective efforts to reduce our carbon footprint."
Ericsson supports global efforts to encourage policymakers to consider the use of extensive broadband networks to enable services such as telework, virtual meetings, smart buildings, intelligent transport and dematerialization of products. According to Ericsson, unsustainable use of transportation and paper alone could be replaced with low carbon ICT solutions that can deliver transformative reductions of 50% or more.