This Primer addresses the role that information and communication technology (ICT) can play in enhancing the ability and capacity of humans to deal with the impact of climate change and contribute to sustainable development. The principle of sustainable development is an important guide to ensure that the use of ICT to tackle climate change effects is done in a way that does not impact on the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
There are two main policy responses to climate change: mitigation and adaptation. Mitigation addresses the root causes, by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, while adaptation seeks to lower the risks posed by the consequences of climatic change. Both approaches will be necessary, because even if emissions are dramatically decreased in the next decade, adaptation will still be needed to deal with the global changes that have already been set in motion.
This Primer focuses on the role that ICT can play in climate change adaptation and mitigation. Since climate and the environment are linked, this Primer also considers the role of ICT in helping humans understand the environment that surrounds them, which is a prerequisite for tackling the problems of climate change.