The launch will make the case for accelerating action for an inclusive digital transformation as a pathway for low- and middle-income countries to meet and possibly raise their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). Through the adoption of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) tools and infrastructure countries can work towards enabling a sustainable society, as well adapt to the new normal after the COVID-19 pandemic.
The event is a call-to-action to strengthen infrastructures and partnerships in low- and middle-income countries with the ICT sector, setting out a pathway for cross-sector and cross-country collaboration to deliver on climate ambitions.
The activities of the report launch will include:
This report presents mitigation and adaptation potentials that can be achieved with digital technologies by 2030 for seven countries: Brazil, Chile, China, India, Kenya, South Africa, and Vietnam. In addition, four relevant sectors are analysed for greenhouse gas emissions mitigation:
Emissions resulting from the use of digital technologies have also been analysed to put the results in perspective.
Taken together across all seven countries the level of potential carbon abatement is significant, with 1.1Gt of CO2e in the case of the reference scenario and 2.1Gt of CO2e in the case of the ambitious decarbonisation scenario. These values can be compared to the total 2014 baseline footprint for the four sectors across all seven countries of 13.2 Gt of CO2e and the projected 2030 footprint for the four sectors across all seven countries under business as usual conditions of 21.8 Gt of CO2e.
Of all four sectors, the highest abatement potential (1043 Mt CO2e in the ambitious decarbonisation scenario) lies in the power sector, across both supply and demand intervention points. In the case of China for example, the digitally enabled accelerated decarbonisation abatement of 777 Mt CO2e is equivalent to decommissioning over 170 average Chinese coal-fired power plants. Significant opportunities for decarbonisation have been identified for energy efficiency gains through smart grids and for increases in distributed renewables, especially through microgrids.
In the Transport sector there is an estimated 394 Mt CO2e abatement potential in the ambitious decarbonisation scenario using digital solutions supporting car sharing, private and commercial vehicle route optimisation, smart EV charging and facilitating public transport. Digitally-assisted road freight logistics was calculated to make the biggest carbon reduction contribution within the Transport sector with 273 Mt CO2e of potential abatement in the ambitious decarbonisation scenario.
The specific technologies most likely to be the basis of adaptation applications are remote sensors, satellites, GIS (Geographical Information Systems), big data analytics, AI and supercomputers. Such applications include early warning systems for extreme weather events, climate modelling, natural disaster management and recovery, water monitoring and risk evaluation for agricultural communities, mitigating agricultural risk using index-based weather insurance supported by digital tools, control capabilities, such as adjusting water pressure according to availability, and power sector resilience using smart grid technologies. However, there remain considerable barriers to widespread adoption of such adaptation-relevant applications in low- and middle-income countries, including lack of funding, inadequate communications infrastructures, and unstable political environments.
For more details on the report findings, download the Digital Solutions for Climate Action report.