Climate Change – European Commission Adopts recommendations for ICT Transition to a low Carbon Economy

LawFuel.com – Environmental Law News
The European Commission (the “Commission”) has adopted a set of recommendations aimed at reducing global carbon emissions from the information and communication technologies sector (“ICT”) and strengthening the ICT sector’s potential to play a central and critical role in the transition to an energy-efficient low carbon economy.

The recommendations set out the Commission’s plans to develop an ICT sector framework in order to measure and reduce energy usage by the sector by 2015. As part of this plan, the Commission has committed to setting, by 2011, ambitious energy-efficiency targets. These aim to exceed the EU 2020 targets by 2015. The Commission has also outlined its plans for the ICT sector to work in close cooperation with the buildings, construction, transport and logistics sectors in order to improve the environment and energy performances of buildings and transport. The Commission will work with the ICT sector and relevant public bodies and organisations in order to assess whether and how individual companies can meet targets relating to energy intensity and carbon emissions reduction.

Member States are also recommended to (amongst other things):

by the end of 2012 agree on common minimum functional specifications for smart metering and set up a coherent timeframe for the rolling out of smart metering technology through their competent national authorities
adopt and implement public procurement strategies which promote the dematerialisation of ICT goods and services (that is a reduction in the need for physical equipment that underlies electronic services delivery); and
engage all relevant stakeholders in large-scale pilots and demonstrations of smart metering and smart grids to enable increased consensus on the requirements for future ICT- enabled innovations
The Commission estimates that these measures could result in a 15% reduction in carbon emissions by 2020. There are suggestions that the ICT sector is currently responsible for around 2% of total carbon emissions in the EU.

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