ICT's Role in the Low Carbon Economy
AIIA White Paper, September 2010
AIIA has prepared a white paper that seeks to reinforce the message that ICT is powerful enabler of economic growth and that ICT innovations will deliver significant CO2 reductions for Australia. Our report builds on a number of significant other papers that have looked at the net benefits of using ICT to enable a low-carbon economy.
This report examines other industry sectors and key infrastructure projects proposed or currently being implemented by the Federal Government / State Governments, aligning IT capabilities to industry challenges, and in doing so details economic, environmental and social benefits that are backed up by these reputable reports and their reference material.
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Over the last two years a number of significant research papers have been published, in Australia and internationally, that clearly identify the role ICT can play in reducing an economy’s carbon footprint. AIIA has identified over 30 reports from 20 different organisations that address these issues. These go far beyond a reduction in ICT’s own carbon emissions, which constitute around 2.7 per cent of Australia’s total. Far more important is ICT’s enabling effect – its ability to reduce carbon emissions in other industries through greater efficiencies in their operations.
This White Paper references six of these reports, and draws less extensively on many others. It is also based on extensive input from key stakeholders in the Australian ICT industry – suppliers, users and consultants, putting the role of ICT and sustainability in an Australian context. The overall message is clear and consistent. Without ICT, it will be impossible to achieve the carbon emissions reductions Australia needs to achieve to prevent, or at worst mitigate, the consequences of climate change.
It is not the intention of the AIIA paper to reproduce the detailed modelling and findings of these or other reports. Rather, we summarise their conclusions in the context of the current Australian climate change debate, with particular reference to how the current or any future Australian Government might use the findings to help develop its policy framework. We also draw on the large body of other work undertaken by AIIA, AIIA’s member base, and many organisations and individuals who see ICT’s great potential in helping to achieve our many goals and, ultimately, an assured future.
We do this by looking at the common areas in these reports and making a number of recommendations based on the political and economic imperatives, plausible policy initiatives, and the benefits that these may provide. AIIA believes this approach provides a solid framework for government and industry to move forward collectively and constructively. In many cases, there is no alternative to action. Many of these initiatives are already underway, but they should, in most cases, be accelerated. Where they do not exist, consideration should be given to their implementation.