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Re-imagining Climate Governance in the Digital Age

06 April 2022
Dr. Karsten Schulz
Dr. Karsten Schulz

'Re-imagining Climate Governance in the Digital Age', a new report by Future Earth and the ClimateWorks Foundation to which Dr. Karsten Schulz of University of Groningen/Campus Fryslan contributed, shows that as digital technologies become increasingly pervasive, concerns about digital colonialism, privacy, and cybersecurity continue to grow, calling attention to the need for oversight and transparency in how data is collected, owned, stored, used, and ultimately disposed of.

A Synthesis of insights

The report is a synthesis of insights from researchers, philanthropists, financial experts, social entrepreneurs, and technology innovators across five continents who work at the intersection of digital technology and climate action. It presents an analysis of the Digital Climate Projects database, a collection of 210 examples of the different applications of digital technology for climate action.

Schulz: "Findings show that the evident potential of leveraging digital innovations for climate action also includes clear risks, which must be addressed. Foremost, concerted efforts must be made to bridge the ‘digital divide’ by increasing equitable access to (and benefits from) digital technologies. Without such measures, leveraging the digital age can perpetuate existing biases and inequities."

"If mismanaged and not powered through low carbon energy sources, the carbon footprint of the ICT sector could grow from 2% (current estimates) to 14% of all greenhouse gas emissions by 2040. Furthermore, while applications of digital technologies such as digital nudging and microtargeting have the potential to incentivize more sustainable choices, so far, they have led to higher levels of consumption and resource demand."

Further steps

Together with partners, the Re-imagining Climate Governance in the Digital Age project team will continue to explore inclusive and just opportunities to leverage digital technologies to accelerate progress towards climate action, biodiversity conservation, and other sustainability goals.

Last modified:07 April 2022 4.13 p.m.

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