Why on earth won't tech be mentioned at Copenhagen?

Why isn’t technology included in the Copenhagen climate change talks?

It seems crazy – if anyone can get us out of our self-imposed environmental mess, it will be scientists and technologists. Their ability to innovate will be a crucial part of the fight to reduce global carbon emissions. So it’s baffling that ICT is not part of the text forming the basis of the talks.

Work will undoubtedly continue on the various ideas and clean technologies that will play such an important role in the coming years, whether the sector is mentioned or not. There’s an economic opportunity there, and clever companies and governments have noticed that.

But the Copenhagen talks are the biggest of their kind since the Kyoto agreement. It’s the only time when governments will come together to discuss this pressing issue in its entirety. UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon is likely to mention the role of technology in his speech, so its absence from the main text seems incredibly short-sighted.

It gives an idea of just how complicated bureaucracy can make things when you consider that campaigners like Catalina McGregor, the International Telecommunications Union, the OECD and the Global e-Sustainability Initiative only want a simple mention of ICT – nothing more. They just want it included in a list of sectors that are relevant and important.

And what’s the reason they’ve been given for ICT being excluded? It’s “too late” to add something to this list. It still begs the question: Why wasn’t it included in the first place?

Its inclusion won’t just be good for the environment – it will help to stimulate growth and development in the technology sector, by giving support and recognition to green IT projects and products. If anyone can shed any light on the argument against putting ICT into the text, I’d love to be enlightened. It seems like a big mistake at the moment.

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