International Relations

Digital information is the key to fight against climate change


Studies of information about climate change produced by the traditional media in recent years show that the scientific evidence of warming has often been retracted or undervalued. The explosion in surge, much more abundant, direct and immediate digital information, has been key to the global awareness of the phenomenon. The summit began Monday in Paris represents a historic moment and a challenge for the digital world, which has primary responsibility here.

There is a huge global expectation on the summit, the COP21, which will last 10 days. Although in reality the agreements to be ratified in Paris have already been drawn in outline. Therefore we know that unfortunately it is unlikely that the crux of the challenge posed by climate change is reached. Experts agree that it is very difficult to agree to launch an international authority that can really control national commitments and eventually punish defaulting States. Although the first well-intentioned statements by President Obama, the US rejects any supranational sovereignty that can condemn a State and are not willing to accept the creation of any court in this regard. If the foundations of a global climate justice are not set, the fight against climate change will be a mere voluntary cooperation of States, too “light” for a problem of enormous proportions.


It is also unlikely that an agreement on another issue that experts consider crucial is achieved in Paris: the creation of a global price for CO2. A price system is the best economical tool for reducing emissions, by means of a levy on the carbon or a system of tradeable emission rights on the market. It is usually more effective to act on the course of prices by the prohibitions and regulations that are difficult to meet.

If we analyze the representation of climate change in the most important means of communication in the world, we can see that there are basically three positions. The rejectionist stance is much more present in the traditional media. The reformist positions have been emerging in recent years. But, especially in digital media, it is becoming clear that the fight against climate change has reached a point where the fundamental reforms of market performance can be essential to meet the challenge of truth.

The hyper-connected world offered by the digital world is more immediate, intense and visual. The reality comes to the screens of our phones as we were at the scene. The media lead us to see how glaciers are melting flying over Greenland, or allow us to immerse ourselves in excellent interactive computer graphics that show dramatic realities. Some media as “The New York Times” opens new ways for readers to experience the stories, interactive videos shot with drones, or leads into the station a center of climate research based in Greenland. From this new perspective it is much easier to understand the urgency and depth required to fight climate change, not the medium and long term, but immediately and emphatically. The digital world favors the emergence of a whole new culture based on sustainability. It is easy to see that the old media oligopolies will not help this structural change.

Reducing emissions of greenhouse gases by half from current levels by 2050 will be difficult with conventional methods and new disruptive technologies and measures will be needed. A whole new market system. The Japanese Fujitsu believes in a report that is vital to use ICTs to tackle environmental degradation. ICTs can increase the efficiency of material goods and to limit their use. They will be crucial, for example, to reduce or eliminate the paper used in offices and the need to move people or goods. E-learning or points of sale are other aspects integrated cited by Fujitsu. The Japanese company has calculated that, for a training program and training of 5,000 employees, for example, you can achieve a 93% reduction of CO2 emissions. To truly fight against climate change a new level of global cooperation that ignores borders between countries, regions, industries and enterprises is needed. For this new world are not worth only declarations of intent. Hopefully the Paris summit alum more radical than mere voluntarism.


By Miguel Ormaetxea

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