Role of information technology in climate change  

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Amaan Farooqui

Climate change refers to any alteration in climate overtime, whether due to natural discrepancy or as a result of human dexterity.

Use of information technology in climate change mitigation, adoption and monitoring not only replacing the conventional techniques and systems also adding great accuracy, reliability and flexibility also provide diverse choices in related domain. ICT Technology is contributing in Climates changes observation, Climate changes monitoring and climates changes adaptation as well as in Disaster.

Nepal is a land of climate diversity. The country’s three distinct geographies-the snow covered mountains, the mid hills and the terai (plains)-embodies this diversity. The dramatic variation in altitude over a short distance has resulted in pronounced orographic effects, effects which severely limit our ability to explain precipitation dynamics in Nepal. The role of ICTs under climate change situation can be explored based on the linkages that exist between ICTs as a system component and its ability to withstand and its ability to recover and to change under changing climatic conditions. Climate induced disasters such as floods, forest fire, landslide which contaminate water and brings water-borne diseases such as cholera and typhoid, putting lives of Nepalese at risk. Impure water is harmful for soil, habitat, birds, trees as well as human beings so water quality monitoring system based on GPRS presented by Wu (2010), which uses GPRS technology for measurement and transmitting data of different parameter required for monitoring water quality can be used in Nepal to solve water contamination problem. It can help in agricultural field by strengthening of agricultural and livestock production systems (i.e. through information about pest and disease control, planting dates, seed varieties and irrigation applications, and early warning systems), by  improving market access (through information on prices and consumer trends) and capacity building opportunities for local farmers in Nepal as well. It has the potential to enable information sharing and capacity building on the main health threats related to climate change, enabling effective prevention and response. Also, products of IT such as remote sensing for monitoring of natural disasters such as floods and tidal waves, improved communications to help deal with natural disasters more effectively, or satellite and surface-based remote sensors for environmental observation can also be used to reduce risks of climate change. Alternative ways of powering vehicles, such as with electricity, can help a lot to control pollution but in order to do it on a wide scale. For example, Yatri motorcycles is working on to launch electric motorcycles in Nepal.

Information and Communication Technology plays a pivotal role in monitoring, mitigation and adaptation of Climate changes challenges. It can help vulnerable communities to reduce the risk related to climate changes by education and awareness at the lowest level of community, sharing practical and theoretical knowledge, empowering communities to access the knowledge and relevant information applicable locally to save lives. These ICT technologies include Geographical Information System (GIS), Wireless Sensor Networks (WSN), Mobile Technology (MT), Web based applications, Satellite Technology, Remote Sensing (RS). Developing countries are facing GHG emission problems due to rapid industrialization and transportation. ICT can be used in designing smart buildings, using ICT smart grids can be implemented in energy generation and power consumption, ICT can control transmission and distribution of energy.

Digital wallets like Esewa, Khalti and other mobile banking services are representing themselves as something that can reduce printed money from Nepali market. Since rapid use of such application increases the lifetime of printed money. This ultimately decreases the production of money in industry which leads to decrease in pollution. Consider teleconferences (or rather, telepresence, which also includes telework). Instead of burning the fuel in one’s car or motorcycle to get to the destination, one can use the communication networks (powered by IT equipment) to do the work as if he/she was “there”. This reduces the CO2 footprint which ultimately reduces pollution.

Pollution tracker is placed in different cities of Nepal. It indicates the level of pollution in the air with the help of different color indicators. When the level of pollution rises in the air, the device changes its color from lighter to the darker ones which instantly aware people. Even in the present context of lockdown around the glove due to COVID-19, it’s a relief to some extend that we have been able to perform work/study from home which is made possible by the platforms created by information technology. So, in this way IT can play a great role in controlling climate change in the context of Nepal. And Nepal government should invest more assets in the field of IT for the better work.

Amaan Farooqui

Kathmandu University


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