ICTs and Climate Change Mitigation in Developing Countries

Author and Institution: 
Helen Roeth, CSR Asia Center at AIT, Hong Kong
Leena Wokeck, CSR Asia Center at AIT, Hong Kong
Richard Heeks, University of Manchester
Richard Labelle, Independent ICT4D Consultant

Urgent  action  is  required to  reduce greenhouse  gas  emissions.   Developing countries  overall are significant emitters, and they must maximise use of ICTs in three ways:

  • Green ICT: reducing the emissions from production and use of ICTs themselves.
  • Smart  ICT:  using  ICTs  in  other  sectors  –  energy,  buildings,  transportation,  logistics, manufacture and forestry – to shrink their carbon footprint.
  • Community  ICT:  applying  ICTs  at  community  level  to  reduce  energy  consumption  and substitute for journeys.

Developing  countries have  an  opportunity to  leapfrog  to low ­carbon  solutions, and to  reduce operating costs alongside carbon emissions by investing in e­mitigation.  However, they face
important  challenges:  lack  of  awareness,  capital,  skills,  appropriate  technology,  and appropriate market/policy regimes.

Action is therefore needed by:

  • International  organisations:  to  incorporate  ICTs  more  clearly  into  low­carbon  technology transfer and financing.
  • Governments:  to  build  capacity  and  partnerships,  and  to  create  a  business  environment that incentivises both innovation and adoption of e­mitigation applications.
  • Businesses:  to  develop  new  e­mitigation  solutions  appropriate  to  developing  countries, and to drive adoption of such solutions within their entire supply chain.