COP28 Witnesses Tech Sector Strengthening Climate Pledge with Green Digital Initiatives

  • Global Tech Commitments: Tech companies and governments pledge action on climate crisis at COP28 in Dubai, including mitigation and adaptation efforts.
  • Green Digital Action Series: ITU, the UN tech agency, leads the Green Digital Action series, uniting the digital technology sector for collective climate action.
  • Emission Reduction Agreements: Tech corporations commit to reducing greenhouse gas emissions with science-based targets, aligned with limiting climate warming to 1.5°C.
  • Circular Tech Industry: Cross-country collaboration aims to develop e-waste regulations, fostering a circular tech industry and increasing transparency on emissions data.
  • International Standards Collaboration: Leading international standards developers (ITU, ISO, IEC) emphasize sustainability in technical standards, supporting net-zero emissions and a circular, low-carbon economy.
  • Mobile and Satellite Industry Pledge: Mobile and satellite industries pledge support for the Early Warnings for All initiative, committing to life-saving disaster alerts through cell-broadcast services by 2027.
Tech industry boosts climate commitment through Green Digital Action at COP28
Tech industry boosts climate commitment through Green Digital Action at COP28 (Credit: IEEE ComSoc)

Global tech companies and governments have promised to do more to address the climate crisis at COP28 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. This includes both reducing the impact of technology on the environment and finding ways for technology to help fight climate change.

This commitment was made during the first Green Digital Action series, which highlights the growing role of digital technology in supporting efforts to combat climate change. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the UN tech agency, is leading the Green Digital Action initiative to bring the entire digital technology sector together for a faster response to the climate crisis.

Doreen Bogdan-Martin, the ITU Secretary-General, emphasized the importance of digital technologies in tackling climate change. She said, “These Green Digital Action commitments show that the digital sector can lead the way in using tech for climate action while also reducing its impact on the environment.” 

Important Outcomes Green Digital Action at COP28

At COP28, there were important outcomes from the Green Digital Action:

  1. Companies agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by following science-based targets, aligning with the goal of limiting climate warming to 1.5°C. They will create plans for transitioning to greener practices and increase transparency about their emissions in the tech industry.
  2. Countries worked together to create regulations for handling electronic waste, aiming to promote a circular tech industry.
  3. International standards developers, including ITU, ISO, and IEC, emphasized the need to include sustainability in the design of technical standards. They believe that standards can help the world achieve net-zero emissions and create a resource-efficient, circular, and low-carbon economy.
  4. There is a commitment to strengthen collaboration between industries and countries in implementing environmental sustainability standards through a specific action plan.
  5. The mobile telecommunication and satellite industry pledged to support the Early Warnings for All initiative. They will use cell-broadcast and direct-to-device services to provide life-saving disaster alerts to everyone by 2027. The public sector also committed to implementing cell-broadcast using a regulatory approach.”

“The digital technology sector is giving us reason for hope with their clear commitments on climate action,” said Tomas Lamanauskas, ITU Deputy Secretary-General, who organized Green Digital Action. “We will work with our tech partners to ensure follow-through on these commitments with the aim of expanding and strengthening them in the future.” 

Green Digital Action happened from December 2 to 9 during COP28 to announce commitments from the tech sector and speed up action. Over 40 partners, including industry groups, UN agencies, governments, and businesses, worked for nearly a year to bring the global digital community together, find solutions together, and increase climate action in the industry.

The tech industry is thought to cause 1.5 to 4 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. The increasing need for data storage and processing, especially for AI systems, is making the sector’s carbon footprint larger and using a lot of energy.

However, technology can also help in the fight against climate change. In areas like climate monitoring and big data research, technology can identify climate patterns and suggest solutions. It can support adaptation with early warning systems and help in mitigation efforts by improving energy efficiency, creating green networks, and building circular economies.

Earlier this year, the SDG Digital Acceleration Agenda – a global analysis released as part of SDG Digital -found that more than two-thirds of the UN’s sustainable development goals can directly benefit from digital technologies.

As Green Digital Action progresses, it will aim to get more commitments and involve more partners. ITU and its Green Digital Action partners are asking for a special digital day at COP29 to highlight digital technologies and services as crucial in the fight against the climate crisis.

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Source: ITU

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