Australia has been ranked in the bottom half of G20 nations for its ability to use ICT to reduce CO2 emissions according to IDC's recently launched ICT Sustainability Index.
The Index, which was launched to the public at the United Nations COP15 climate change meetings in Copenhagen, found Australia could cut up to 116.6 million tons of CO2 emissions by 2020 if it used more intensive ICT solutions in the transport, industry, building, and energy generation and distribution sectors.
Overall the G20 nations – which account for over 70 per cent of all emissions – could cut CO2 emissions by 25 per cent to 2020 with 41.4 per cent of this potential existing in the Asia-Pacific region.
The countries were ranked into five tiers with Japan being the only country to achieve a Tier 1 ranking with a score of 16. Tier 2 comprised the US, France, Germany, Brazil and the UK in that order.
Australia scrapped into Tier 4 as the 13th ranked country behind Turkey, South Korea and China. South Africa and Indonesia received the dubious honour of the worst ranked.
In outlining Australia's results, Philip Carter, IDC associate research director for Green IT & Sustainability Research, noted smart metering could account for 9 per cent of CO2 emissions reduction in the power sector while private transport optimisation could decrease emissions in that sector by 5 per cent.
"In the buildings category, the largest potential for CO2e [emissions] reductions are in the areas of energy management systems and intelligent building design, which are expected to account for 16% and 11% respectively," he said.
The Index standardises the economic, energy, and ICT profiles of the twenty nations to compare countries with each other, and is supplemented with a qualitative report containing policy recommendations on various ICT investments which can help achieve climate change goals.
The complete results of the Index including the methodology used can be viewed online.
The Index is also part of a wider green initiative study by IDC to determine the role of ICT in enhancing environmental sustainability.
According to IDC, the study will help Governments tackle the long-term challenges of environmental and economic sustainability by helping countries to prioritise their ICT investments in major sectors, such as manufacturing and transport, as part of their overall climate change strategy.
The Climate Change Institute has also recently published a report looking at the low carbon productiveness of G20 nations.
The Low Carbon Competitiveness report which examines the competitiveness nineteen G20 nations to adapt to the opportunities and costs of moving to a carbon constrained world, lists Australia as 15th out of 19 countries behind countries such as Mexico, Russia and China.
See some ways ICT can help in the fight against global warming in Computerworld's recent series: Copenhagen Countdown - A look at ways ICT can help.