How are cities are using digital technologies to tackle climate change?



Signatories of the GDC initiative discussed ways in which they use ICT to reduce emissions during the session ‘Green Digital Charter – smart city solutions for energy efficiency and climate change’ during COP 21 in Paris on 8 December.

Johanna Rolland, mayor of Nantes, opened the session by reiterating the message that ‘there can be no smart cities without smart citizens’.

The session featured a panel of politicians alongside Johanna Rolland: George Ferguson, mayor of Bristol; Milan Obradovic, deputy mayor of Malmo; and Jaroslaw Jozwiak, deputy mayor of Warsaw.

Panellists discussed what becoming a smarter city means to them, and how this contributes to their greenhouse gas emissions reductions targets. They also explored how initiatives such as the Green Digital Charter, support their efforts to become smarter cities. Cities also shared ideas on the kind of support they need to scale up their efforts and improve results.

Some of the panelists referred to the potential of ICT for energy efficiency to promote social inclusion in cities, with George Ferguson commenting that: “Using technology is always about what you can do for people.” Malmo’s Milan Obradovic said that his city uses refurbishments for energy efficiency in housing to create jobs (CLICC). Speaking about the importance of cities as part of a global climate deal, George Ferguson stated that: “Cities will do their best to close any gap left after the close of the COP 21 negotiations.”

The Green Digital Charter now has nearly 50 signatories committed to reducing emissions through ICT and tackling climate change through the innovative use of digital technologies in cities. The GuiDanCe project has been supporting signatories’ efforts since March 2015.