Information and Communications Technologies as a Path to Sustainable Infrastructure and Systems

On June 17th , the Council of Canadian Academies released the report of its Expert Panel on the Potential for New and Innovative Uses of Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) for Greening Canada. The multidisciplinary panel of experts was chaired by David Miller, President and CEO of WWF-Canada. The report discusses interconnected ICT opportunities which can achieve environmental, economic, and social benefits for Canada, and organizes these opportunities in six key thematic areas: “environmental monitoring; smart interconnected utilities; smart interconnected buildings and neighbourhoods; smart interconnected mobility; smart interconnected production; and healthy people and healthy communities”. It also states that Canada is well positioned to be a leader in green data centres, because of our cooler climate and relatively clean electricity supply. Regarding our human capital capabilities to achieve ICT innovation, the report states that they “are difficult to assess”, and that skills gaps are likely to occur on both the demand and supply sides. Increased computer literacy training will be required from elementary to post-graduate levels.

LINKS:

Enabling Sustainability in an Interconnected World is at the Council of Canadian Academies website at http://www.scienceadvice.ca/uploads/eng/assessments%20and%20publications… (224 pages). The Backgrounder, with links to summaries, is at http://www.scienceadvice.ca/en/assessments/completed/greenict.aspx .

UN COP-19 underway in Warsaw from November 11-22

The first week of the UN COP19 proceeded with a sombre air following the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. Despite this, talks faced significant difficulties as Japan announced a reduction to its emission targets and Australia declared its decision to axe the country’s carbon tax.

Canada has come under criticism for applauding Australia and encouraging other countries to follow suit. The WWF condemned Canada for undermining progress at the talks, while NDP Environment Critic Megan Leslie asserted that “the Conservatives are still asleep at the wheel” in a statement issued November 13th.

Delegates from Warsaw have indicated that the new accord will likely abandon the international treaty model of past agreements and instead resemble a “patchwork” of national emissions reduction targets that are governed by domestic law. COP19 is seen as a precursor to the more important international conference in Paris in 2015.

See the speeches and documentation from COP19 at the UNFCC website at: http://unfccc.int/2860.php; See WWF condemns Canada at: http://www.wwf.eu/index.cfm?212403/WWF-condemns-Japan-Australia-Canada-undermining-progress-climate-talks, and the NDP statement on Canada at COP19 at: http://www.ndp.ca/news/statement-ndp-cop19-united-nations-framework-convention-climate-change.