Combatting climate change through ICT

business February 09, 2014 00:00

By The Nation

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Information and communication technology (ICT) can play a big role in tackling climate change, and underscoring this is the new partnership between the UN climate-change secretariat and the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI).

According to GeSI’s recent report, “SMARTer 2020: the role of ICT in driving a sustainable future”, ICT can slash global greenhouse-gas emissions by 16.5 per cent, saving US$1.9 trillion (Bt62 trillion) in energy and fuel costs and cutting 9.1 gigatonnes of carbon emissions. 
This can be achieved in a variety of ways, including increasing energy efficiency of telecommunications networks and data centres, enabling smart grids, creating intelligent building management systems and optimisation of logistics networks, and using smart farming techniques, including weather monitoring and livestock management.
“ICT has an essential role to play in putting the world on a low-carbon path,” said UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) executive secretary Christiana Figueres. 
“The way we do business and provide critical services is shaped by mobility and connectivity. As urban populations grow, ICT can help ensure that growth evolves in the most sustainable way possible. Concerted action by policy-makers to use ICT is an extremely important part of powering a green revolution,” she added.
GeSI chairman Luis Neves said its partnership with the UNFCCC presented an excellent opportunity to showcase ICT-driven changes that contribute toward a low-carbon economy. 
The new partnership is part of a larger initiative that showcases successful climate action around the world. Momentum for Change focuses on women’s leadership, urban poverty, innovative finance and, now, ICT solutions.
Since the beginning of the year, people, institutions and companies have been able to submit examples of how ICT addresses climate change and builds resilience. The most inspiring, innovative and successful activities will be selected as Momentum for Change Lighthouse Activities, which will be recognised and celebrated during the December 2014 “UN Climate Change Conference” in the Peruvian capital, Lima.
Preparing students for workplace tech skills 
Since the beginning of December, any institution worldwide that licenses Office 365 ProPlus or Office Professional Plus for staff and faculty has been able to provide access to Office 365 ProPlus for students at no additional cost.
This is under Microsoft’s initiative to help prepare students for the technology skills required in the workforce.
The “Student Advantage” project is part of its “We Make 70 Million Lives Better” vision.
“The company helps educators transform and modernise education to meet the needs of 21st-century students through technological innovation and cutting-edge products such as Office 365. By further increasing the availability of the world’s most popular productivity solution through the cloud, we can empower more youth and help to unleash more future innovators,” said Haresh Khoobchandani, managing director of Microsoft (Thailand).
In this project, Microsoft supports Thailand in achieving its objective of becoming a regional education hub within Asean, he said.
Today, more than 35,000 institutions worldwide are automatically eligible to deliver the Student Advantage benefit to their students. Nearly 98 per cent of students using productivity software currently use Office.
On December 16, the US giant also hosted a “New Era of Education on the Cloud” seminar at the Microsoft Thailand office, to which all universities in the Kingdom interested in deploying Office 365 for Education through the Student Advantage programme were invited.