BRUSSELS, March 30 (Reuters) - The European Union’s technology sector should outpace the rest of the bloc on cutting climate-warming emissions, said Viviane Reding, EU commissioner in charge of information and communication technology (ICT).
In a video posted on her website on Monday, Reding urged the ICT sector to cut its carbon footprint by 20 percent by 2015 -- roughly five years earlier than the bloc’s overall target of cutting CO2 to 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2020.
As part of the plan, the EU aims to cut energy use by 20 percent, but Reding warned the bloc would fall short with a cut of just 13 percent. She called on the ICT sector to lead the way in helping Europe meet its goals.
“I see from the response of European ICT companies ... that Europe is already well ahead in using ICT to green the economy, with some ICT companies already voluntarily working to reduce CO2 emission by 50 to 80 percent,” she added.
The ICT sector alone accounts for 2 percent of EU CO2 emissions.
But it could be harnessed to help cut energy consumption of buildings by 17 percent by synchronising heating, lighting and air-conditioning, and by helping manage peaks in energy demand, a Commission statement said.
ICT could also cut carbon emissions in transport logistics by up to 27 percent, partly through e-commerce, online conference calls and teleworking.
Technology is at the heart of several EU climate initiatives, such as a plan for “Smart Cities”, which would glean energy from weather systems overhead and feed it to the homes below and vehicles in the street.
Reding's video message comes at the start of a public consultation on green ICT and is available at: here (Reporting by Pete Harrison)