The following are the outputs of the captioning taken during an IGF virtual intervention. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.
>> JENNIFER CHUNG: Hello and good morning to everyone here in Katowice in the room with us. Good morning, good evening and good afternoon to everybody who is joining us in the Zoom room. Welcome to the last day of the IGF.
This is the workshop on Critical Times: Impact of Digitalization on Climate Change. Now I don't know if any of you have been going to any of the environment sessions. We have heard from the PNE, the Policy Network on Environment yesterday twice and there is other workshops talking about this very important topic.
Here we are looking at digitalization on climate change, and although there has been a significant decline in carbon emissions in 2020, it was obviously a result of the population confinement during the pandemic and also the global economy slowdown.
Experts forecast that the carbon emissions will rapidly bounce back to its original level which is pretty sad for us because digital activity has been accelerated by the pandemic, for example, through online learning. Remote working and people working from home offices and online shopping and things that we do and click through every day.
We will be looking at two main things. How we can measure impact and also how to increase awareness and proactiveness amongst policy makers and developers. These are really important things. We are at a critical time for digital communities to reflect on and monitor the expansion of the internet, and we need to connect that with the carbon footprint initiative to develop concepts, tools and internet governance policies to tackle climate change and recovery plans.
We have three lovely speakers with us in this workshop. First we will hear from Edmon Chung, the CEO of DotAsia organization. And he will be presenting the findings of the research and present a pilot of what is called the Eco Internet Index.
Next we will go to Daphne Mah. She is the Director of Asian Energy Study Center, and she is also the Associate Professor of the Department of Geography at Hong Kong Baptist University. And from her we will hear about the power grids and data centers and how to reduce carbon emission.
And we come back to Katowice for Teddy Woodhouse, the Research manager. He will share findings on the A for AI broadband policy survey and policy recommendations for a greener internet.
So without further ado, I would like to give the floor to Edmon Chung who should be on Zoom with us. If he would be allowed to share his screen.
>> EDMON CHUNG: Yes, I hope my voice is coming through fine.
>> JENNIFER CHUNG: Yes, we can hear you loud and clear.
>> EDMON CHUNG: Thank you. Thank you, Jen.
And as Jen mentioned, I will be talking a little bit about our project this year on eco internet index and similarly the draft findings that we have done.
For those who joined us at the Asia Pacific IGF, I have given a preview of this, and we haven't quite completed the work at that time, but I will be repeating a little bit of that but also sharing some of the findings that we now have from this pilot study.
So as a little bit of background, the study was -- we started working on this a couple of years ago with the concept alongside APNIC Foundation. And this year we have been very excited to have HBS support our work, funding our work on this.
And actually congratulations to their parent organization in Germany. But this the project is also supported -- well, it is also related to a -- what we call the Ajitora project. I flipped over it quickly for you to take a look, which we started in 2016 when the SDGs were put in place.
This is an education program that DotAsia have been supporting to support tigers but also to support the education of the SDGs to different schools and youth.
So we will -- this project is a little bit related to -- connected to the IG work that we do as well. What got us started really is that in the last couple of years there has been an increased interest and I guess partially concern as well with how much the carbon footprint really is from internet activities. Talk about how much streaming video and how many trees you are actually killing by watching videos online and so on.
But also looking into really what effect of it is as the part of the project. And we wanted to put some data -- well, do some research on the data behind it and see how much of it and how much we can actually look into in terms of how data represents the actual COVID footprint of the internet.
Actually, we do know that the machines that we run, the devices that we run obviously does use power and does have a carbon footprint. The question is what can be done and how do we look at what is actually happening.
We are also excited to and privileged and honored to have a group of advisors that help us through the work from different parts of the community and also in the energy and the environment communities as well as, of course, from the internet governance community, especially Kassian who is the manager for the poly framework on digital.
Going into it, one of the first things we looked at in terms of our thinking and trying to think about how users use the internet and what kind of data is produced and what kind of therefore what kind of carbon footprint there would be.
We first looked into internet usage patterns, how many hours that people spent on music, spent on videos, spent on social media. And also looking at different activities, how they map into the kind of more data intensive one would be video and so on and how it relates to.
So we also selected a few countries and economies in Asia to focus on, Singapore and Hong Kong, which sort of forms a relevant comparison. And then Australia and Japan, another pair, and then India and China as a whole six different jurisdictions to take a look at.
And initially we looked at, you know, the hours spent online and the acceleration or deceleration, if you will, in some cases. And, you know, what the trends are there.
And then we started really mapping it together and did a bit of calculations. Here is an example calculation of a situation in Hong Kong, for example.
If you look, if you take the data on the time spent on video, social media, music, gaming and so on, and you add them all up and times it by the number of internet users, you get a rough idea of the energy consumption each day for users of the internet in Hong Kong.
Convert that into the carbon footprint. And what we did was a little bit comparison with the total carbon footprint of Hong Kong as reported by the government. And what we found is that it is actually a relatively small amount which comes to based on these assumptions and calculations to 0.4. A little bit, you know, to 0.5%. A very small percent of it.
But beyond this, what we -- as we engage with the advisors and others to get some feedback, what we also realized, a more important thing is that it's really not just about the internet's footprint but also what it replaces, right?
So all this, even if the internet's footprint is growing at a particular pace, what it replaces potentially is a bigger carbon footprint, you know. Just look at, you know, the -- today we are using Zoom a lot, but also that if you calculate the carbon footprint if we all fly to Poland, not saying that is not valuable, but just on a carbon footprint view, then obviously what it replaces is potentially much, much larger.
So the question is then falls into another area which is when we come to think about it, it is really the power grid, the grid that's powering the internet that becomes a critical component because that's the carbon footprint so-called of the internet is all based on the electronic -- the electricity power that is generated for it.
So we started looking at the different situations like, you know, different countries, you know, who emits the most, you know, who has the most carbon emission. And how do we look at the power grid and how it -- how it contributes to the matter.
And so we looked at the power grid indicators, the kind of the what is called the grid emission factor which is the carbon footprint per kilowatt of electricity generated and how it differentiates between the jurisdictions that we are looking at as mentioned.
So then we realized that it's interesting, it is not only about the emission factor but also about whether its component, whether it's using renewable source electricity or not.
And we realized that this is also an indicator and a component that's useful when we think about the issue. And then we looked based on some of the feedback that we got, we also realized that as we look at the internet bandwidth it is not just about the usage bandwidth, it is also about the capacity, the unused bandwidth is also consuming power.
In fact, what we have based on part of the study, we realized that the capacity itself is really the driver for if you look at the infrastructure itself, the capacity itself is really the bigger driver for power consumption rather than the incremental usage of our video stream.
It's how much capacity that is built into your network that, you know, is actually consuming the larger part of the power.
So that's another part of the equation that we want to look into. And then, of course, as I mentioned, what you replace, right. So if the internet is actually replacing a bigger part of the more intensive carbon activities, such as, you know, watching a movie online versus driving your car to the cinema and watching it in the cinema, then we really need to look at what the digital economy, you know, the contribution of the digital economy has on the -- on the overall GDP, if you will, or the economy.
So these are some of the things that we went through. And actually speaking about the network, what we also realized as I mentioned, the -- if we understand that the capacity is the bigger power consumption, then the variances in internet traffic plays a role, right. Because you have to cater for the peaks.
That means, you know, during the flows, you know, there is excess capacity or there are possibilities to utilize that capacity without, you know, more intensive power consumption. That would actually allow us to better make the internet more efficient in terms of power consumption as well.
So along with all of this, what we have realized and in fact my presentation in -- at the AIGF and tried to combine into a multifactor index.
As mentioned, some of the things that we realized, it is not just the internet usage patterns but that is, of course, a part of it. But the internet usage needs to be related to the digital economy transformation like how much of the digital economy is now part of the bigger economy.
The more it converts, then the assumption would be in fact even though the internet is I guess absolute carbon footprint is enlarging but the overall contribution to the economy would probably be worth it. So that is one axis that we looked into.
The other axis is the energy part which is the grid emission factor and the renewable sources that I mentioned.
And then the third axis is about the network capacity. The efficiency of the network and how much of the variance, if it varied a lot, there is potential excess capacity that can be leveraged. So these are all -- these three axis we tried to model to potentially give some interesting ideas for policy and intervention as well.
So first of all, I guess going into each of the axis what we found looking at the six jurisdictions that we have, if you look at the percentage of trade of the digital economy versus the internet's carbon footprint as a total, as a percentage of total carbon emission, this is sort of the situation you see.
You see that in India, although it has a big carbon footprint actually India has a big digital economy, a lot of the part of their economy is digital.
Versus Hong Kong where it is actually a very small part of Hong Kong's economy or trade is in the digital economy. So this gives you a better idea of how things are.
And a part of the data sources that we drew from for this set is from UNCTAD and We Are Social which gives us a little bit of the usage patterns as well. Now looking at the energy side, what you can see is that the renewable energy percentage you can see interestingly, Hong Kong and Singapore is relatively low whereas the grid emission factor they are not as bad.
One of the reasons, well, the emission grid, the emission factor, the longer it is the worse it is because that contains more carbon per kilowatt hour.
So one interesting thing that we also looked at is realizing that, for example, Singapore whereas the renewable energy percentage is quite low, what they use is hydro-- not hydro, sorry, natural gas. And that's not a renewable energy.
But that you can see that the grid emission factor, that means the grid emission factor is a bit low as well. There are some nuances that we learn. Most of the data comes from local authorities.
The third aspect which is efficiency we looked at the bandwidth capacity and the bandwidth speed and also the variance and try to calculate that based on the data from speed tests and Cable.co and ITU.
One interesting observation is that you can see in Hong Kong quite strangely we probably need to take a look at that data as well is it has a huge capacity whereas the internet connectivity speed is not equally as stellar. So it's kind of interesting.
And in terms of tracking variance, there is a similar situation and also similar patterns that we saw as well. So adding all this together, again, this is a very early pilot study so the rankings and the scores, you know, I wouldn't spend -- I wouldn't really say it's, you know, 0.1 difference is a big issue, but more so just as you -- as one of the things is this pilot study tries to do is to -- I understand everything in a kind of a percentage form so that we can actually compare China with Singapore and Hong Kong within the -- in a way that could make sense, hopefully make sense so that we know, you know, in terms of policy advocacy and stuff what direction we want to push for.
One interesting note is that based on the model that we tried to put together Japan seems to be pretty strong on all three areas and Hong Kong seems to be relatively weak on all three areas. And one of the things that we -- when we plot out the like a radio diagram we see there are outliers, and some jurisdictions have some things they are doing better and some they are not doing better as well that hopefully give some ideas where to work on as well.
And some of the case, a few of the things that we are looking to do is to hopefully into the future expand to some other countries and economies so that we can do a better comparison across Asia.
We wanted -- I think in going forward we want to also look at some of the outliers especially like in Hong Kong some of the outliers that would give us more interesting insight into what data might actually mean.
Some sensitivity analysis as well, the way that we kind of modeled it. And then time series, the trend doing it a few years year in and year out and seeing how things change over time I think is going to be rather interesting as well.
So this really brings us -- brings me to the end of the presentation. I hope this gives a good idea of what we are doing and some of the insights and also some of the way forward we hope to continue to work on.
But part of the work is also to look at the narratives of how to talk about this to the public and to policy people as well.
One of the things that I think we distill is really down to three areas. One is for usage to become more carbon conscious to know that the internet does have an environmental impact and decisions do make a difference.
But the bigger question is really the grid that powers your internet, you know, and also the -- whether there could be policy directives to encourage cleaner energy for the network infrastructure.
And then finally, the digital economy advantage. What the internet replaces, you know, in terms of more carbon intensive alternatives. And then consider also how guidelines can perhaps better utilize network capacities.
As I mentioned, the variance of network activities gives us an opportunity to better utilize the network and therefore really boils down to being able to do more and waste less.
That's sort of the preliminary findings for this year's pilot. Hopefully that's useful. And thank you.
>> JENNIFER CHUNG: Thank you, Edmon, that was a really interesting overview of the research and I guess the preliminary presentation of the Eco Internet Index.
I wanted to hear a little bit from you, I know you mentioned a few outliers in Hong Kong. Were there any data dimensions that you wished to have looked at and was very difficult to find?
I know for all of the economies and jurisdictions you looked at it might not have been so easy to actually find all of the relevant data. Do you think there is anything missing that we can look at and further -- in the further part of the study?
>> EDMON CHUNG: Yeah, absolutely. Actually one of the things is I will scroll back up. And this is the variances in terms of the traffic patterns. We had hoped to have the raw data, for example, to calculate the variances.
Eventually we have to on some of the occasions we have to rely on these graphs on the maximum and mean to estimate kind of as an estimate for the variance.
The only -- well, there are a few internet exchanges that we can get the raw data from and those would provide us with much better data. But this is something that I think we can improve.
The other thing I found interesting is the renewable energy that I highlighted as well and the nuances there in terms of the data from consistent data across different jurisdictions on the composition of the energy and the power grid and how electricity is produced. I think that would enhance our understanding.
And then, of course, the bandwidth part. Some of the bandwidth usage data we take from ITU is not, you know, it's a bit strange as I mentioned for the Hong Kong one. I'm sure it's -- I'm guessing it's -- well, we assume that it's correct. And I'm -- I asked around as well.
There is a tremendous capacity in Hong Kong and that we know versus other places. But, you know, over time how it's -- that usage is for I think would be useful to get a sense, better sense as well.
But overall, though, I think what we are trying to do is based on limited data we can apply some consistent data to do some comparative study and then we know what policy directives might be useful for different jurisdictions.
>> JENNIFER CHUNG: Thank you, Edmon. We actually -- I know you can't really see in the Zoom room, but we do have a pretty full room on site in Katowice, and it's really -- thank you for all of you joining us here because we know the last day on the IGF, first session on the last day is always a tough sell to anyone. But I'm glad that we do have a full room. I know we will have questions later from the audience to ask you about these studies.
And I want to now turn over to Daphne Mah, and she is joining us I believe on Zoom and also from Hong Kong. Daphne, the floor is yours.
>> DAPHNE MAH: Thank you very much. I'm Daphne, the Director of the Center based in Hong Kong from the Hong Kong Baptist University. Thanks for the organizer for inviting us to join this forum.
And I think what I would like to share with the participants in this forum is I wish to bring in the social perspective of the whole discussion.
Now let me share my screen. So can everyone see my screen?
>> JENNIFER CHUNG: We can see your screen. Is it possible to -- yes, perfect.
>> DAPHNE MAH: Okay, good. So the social perspectives that I would like to focus on today is about data trust.
So the whole topic of this section is about digital technology and climate change. I think Edmon said very good things for my presentation because Edmon kind of identified that internet users, they are important because they drive internet consumption changes and that is why now we can identify that the power usage is a key area we can do something. As Edmon mentioned, the policy solutions and what the future direction to pursue.
I think Edmon's findings were very useful in that sense. I think for it is significant to identify the new and important patterns of power consumption which have been driven by internet users and especially what are the changes in the patterns during the pandemic.
Obviously very rapid changes and foreseeable changes. It is very important for this kind of study to take stock of these changes. The government and business sector and the civil society we can better or more effectively identify actionable solutions.
Our team at the Asian Energy Study Center, we focus on the digitalization which enabled by the smart grid developments. In other words, it is about basically it is about the digitalization of the power sector. And that kind of smart energy transitions enabled by smart grid developments you see that it is a very promising solutions to climate change.
Basically smart grid is integrating ICT information and communication and technology into conventional energy system. And that is very important because it open up two main approaches for possible changes.
I see in that, on the one hand, we can have the demand side management. Especially the points, maybe you already have the smart sensors installed at your home and then you can use your app to monitor the real time energy consumption. And then with the pricing you can reschedule the time of your energy consumption from peak time to off-peak time.
On the other hand, on the supply side we see that apart from the digitalization, the power sector, another mean driving changes is about the decentralization of the conventional center energy system with increasing use of renewable energy such as these kind of rooftop solar panels that you can see in many, many urban cities including in Hong Kong.
Now with all of these possible changes with smart grid, what we would like to emphasize is that data trust is essential to effective use of such smart changes and that is not easy because we see that trust is a very difficult issue to deal with. Trust basically is something very psychological that is a psychological stage that I feel okay to accept that I'm vulnerable.
And then in terms of data trust we see that these are a range of dimensions of data that measures. We care about what data is being held, how and where it is secured and who can access to it and how long it will be kept for and why it is necessary to collect this data and keep it.
Now, for smart energy development it is not easy because we see that smart development create a special kind of trust environment because there are uncertainties and risks.
If you remember at the very beginning of my presentation I mentioned that the demand side management is a possible efficiency solutions, but you think about the privacy issues related to smart meters. These are very real issues that governments have to deal with because it can be a huge source of public trust.
On the energy development we know that it is very promising, but in terms of connecting data and how to consolidate data from which are now in hands of different parties, and it is a huge challenge.
Now public trust is important. If we cannot build trust in data, then we see that very often policies intended to support, say, for example, demand side management or dynamic pricing or even renewable energy in many cases that could cause public controversies and that means that would be a delay in policy implementation.
Now our research team over these years, we have worked on a number of projects relating to trust, the trust perspective of energy transition, and I would like to share a couple of key findings for the interest of time today.
The first finding that I would like to share with the participants is that people, the public, they are concerned about trust for many reasons.
With smart meter installation some people, they are concerned about the house issues. They also complained that there are inaccuracies of smart meters readings. And then they are charged too much from -- by the power companies.
And some people, of course, they are very concerned about privacy issues and as well as inequity issues that vulnerable groups are not so committed to use smart meters or those app and they are put into disadvantaged position with all of these market changes.
The second key findings from our research I wish to share with you is that about who to trust. We find that, for example, from this survey from Hong Kong that we conducted last year with about 100 Hong Kong people we find that the trust level of all government as you can see some the Chinese government, and Hong Kong government you see that the red bars indicate at Guangdong.
The red bars are the level of distrust. And on the other hand, the business sector as you can see from the first set of those graphs that for major utility in Hong Kong the green bars, they are really dominating. So we see that Hong Kong people they did have greater trust on the private sector in Hong Kong.
This is another set of data that we got from another study. Another telephone survey that we just completed a couple of months earlier this year that we find that there are, as you can see from the diagram on the left-hand side, we asked people would you welcome in the government collect your personal data and you see the red bars are quite visible here, so you see that the mistrust on government actually is quite discernible here.
But on the other hand, if we see that that is one interesting findings or observations that we would like to share as well is that there is what we called a divided trust across different generations in Hong Kong.
As you can see, the young people in Hong Kong, they tend to be most skeptical to the government. Therefore, those in middle age or in the more elderly group, they were -- they found the government a little bit more trustworthy.
Okay. Now another key question is that if the government did not have a high level of trust from public people, how about the private sectors. I think that is a good news for the private sector because from our study we find that the companies in general, they get a higher level of trust from the Hong Kong people.
Across the business sector we can differentiate the types of companies that we found that the foreign funded companies as you can see on the left-hand side of the diagram on the left-hand side, they enjoyed the highest level of trust among the people.
The Chinese funded companies, they were less trustworthy companies in Hong Kong. For locally funded companies, and it seems that they are right in the middle.
Okay. So the final remark that I would like to share is that we see that it is a very important area for future research direction that is how to build the data trust. And particular that bearing in mind that trust by Hong Kong citizens on different groups, the trust levels actually are very different. We have different trust level on government and on the corporation and of NGOs.
So I think the key is that how we can build data trust through multi sector collaborations. Okay. So I think that is all that I would like to share for now. Thank you very much.
>> JENNIFER CHUNG: Thank you, Daphne. That was extremely enlightening.
I think it's really interesting that you were presenting your data that this survey was conducted in 2020 so last year where everybody was pretty much confined in their homes.
>> DAPHNE MAH: Right.
>> JENNIFER CHUNG: And also with the consideration of the political and social pressures and differences that happened in Hong Kong, I guess in recent years. So that also could have led to I guess the results and the findings of the survey.
I think it's really important that you brought the connection of trust of data here because in the initial presentation from Edmon, he mentioned that this whole effort really requires multi-stakeholder, multi-sectoral public and private efforts.
And especially when you're looking at the energy grid, that is very much in the domain of governments. And if the government offers a solution that is not trusted by their citizens, this is not going to actually benefit anybody at all.
So thank you, Daphne, for pointing that out. I'm sure we will also have a lot of questions for you for that. And I think it is really interesting just to see the snapshot here about Hong Kong.
And now we turn to our presenter in the room, Teddy Woodhouse. I think he is going to bring us -- he is going to touch on Asia and also bring us across the world to different states, different countries and give us a little bit of an overview about the findings of the broadband policy. So Teddy, the floor is yours.
>> TEDDY WOODHOUSE: So I'm Teddy Woodhouse at the Alliance for Affordable Internet. Take this off to leave it more clear.
As my slides are coming up, kind of from our perspective as an organization we focus on the idea that we want everyone in the world to have access to meaningful and affordable internet. No matter where they are or the income, we want them to use the digital technology as all of us are here in Katowice now or connecting in on Zoom.
Where I think Edmon and Daphne's presentations have been great thinking about possibilities and what the future will look like, we wanted to focus clearly on how are we doing right now in terms of thinking about these issues and how our government is thinking about the issues.
We started with considering the question from the perspective of how are governments talking about this collaboration between environmental issues and broadband policy.
What the first slide here is a map of the 70 countries where we took the national broadband plan which is the highest level key document of how a government is theoretically at least understanding ICT issues and internet issues. We looked at these governments to see how are they talking about it and how are they not talking about it.
It is lagging, but yeah, we saw environmental themes weren't prominent, but where they are emerging there are limiting factors or the future possibilities of utopian visions of smart everything around how this is going to work out as a great future.
We saw that energy in particular was the current critical point of what we needed to focus on. This was enlightening to think about what are going to be early touchstones for policy makers in the areas, how does internet and energy relate to each other.
One point I have found interesting and amusing is that environmental vocabulary is quite common throughout all of these documents and probably here in the sessions here. Sustainable business models, the investment climate and regular environment, all of these are green words we have coded into meaning completely related to the environment and the natural world.
I think it will be easiest for us to keep using the language in the way that we already are but bring it back to their original intention as well.
This is a few examples, and you can read more in the report as well. I think there is really interesting areas particularly around Senegal of requiring the regulators authority to require infrastructure sharing is how the governments can reduce what is going to be the carbon footprint of new buildout.
If you build fewer towers, that is less energy to run the towers and therefore creating a more efficient network overall. If we want to think about a world where everyone has access to 4G technology, and we focused in the research on sustainable access on Africa from a regional perspective is where this is most urgent, and the greatest work is needed.
You can see the bending of the great arc the top. If we do nothing, it will keep increasing and energy demand will keep rising and carbon emission will keep rising. If we increase infrastructure sharing so building the fewer towers as I mentioned. If we increase the use of off grid renewables, solar or hydropower.
But what was strong is connect the remote towers to the electricity grid. This is a huge problem because a lot of areas that are under connected or unconnected are rural and remote and they don't have access to an electricity grid.
So a lot of the ways the new towers have to be diesel generated. This is a government decision where the electricity grid is going to be in a lot of ways. That complementarity is going to be a huge factor and was going to be the ultimate kind of carbon footprint of the network that we are building here.
But one point of optimism we saw in our modeling was that as more people are coming online we see this kind of new efficiency that emerges of if you think about what is the cost of the infrastructure from a per user perspective.
It is actually looking somewhat optimistic in the sense that as we bring more people online the per user cost is going to come down. And that is a crucial thing and why we consider these softer issues of digital skills and training people how to use the internet actually has an environmental impact. Bringing those more people on, they're going to have greater benefit and there's a greater justification for why this infrastructure should exist.
Because in a lot of ways the infrastructure does already exist, but it is used quite inequitably. So it's quite used heavily, and in some parts of the world not accessible at all. This is a slide meant more for reading than for going through right now, so I'll skip it for now. But please do read it in the report. This is some of the example policies that we recommended to policy makers of ways of kind of thinking about the issues as initial starting points.
But, you know, one particular area of interest for us, and I wanted to highlight works from a friend, Michael Aguia, who wrote a report a report on filling the gap between energy and internet access. It's this idea of where can we start thinking about these complements. And universal service and access funds we think are quite a valuable starting point in terms of the areas where the institutions are focused on, rural and remote areas, are exactly where these problems of a lack of electricity and a lack of internet access are running in complement to each other.
Let me keep my remarks brief here as well so we can have a little bit of -- I have to leave slightly early because I'm being booked into another session.
But I think in terms of what's next and what's on our horizon, it's this idea that those who are affected by climate inequality who are most vulnerable to climate change as it is right now and those who are most vulnerable from digital inequality are fighting against the same injustice.
And so it's really difficult and really problematic to think about those who are facing this injustice can choose one or the other. You can have a clean environment, or you can use the internet and you cannot have both. That is simply unfair and that's not the future I want to live in. Hopefully we can take action and see a better future in the years ahead.
>> JENNIFER CHUNG: Thank you, Teddy. We are conscious of being double booked everywhere.
I know you called out the research I think article that Michael also wrote. And he was quite active in the Zoom chat saying he wished that he was here to talk about this because it is part of his work as well, but he is moderating another session.
I think this is something that we know still we are not able to do. We can't split ourselves. We are here, can be online as well. We are not quite there yet with technology.
In the interest of time for you as well, I would like to ask you a little bit more about what it is that you think we should do right now to actually tell the policy makers hey, you know, you need to pay attention to this? How can we work towards a greener internet, how can we work towards greener policy across the board?
>> TEDDY WOODHOUSE: So what I would say is policy makers have a decision to make right now. And that is they can either act now or they can wish that they acted now five years in the future.
Because the most cost-effective way to greening the internet is doing it earlier rather than later. And so when we have been doing estimates with the ITU on what it's going to cost the world to, you know, provide universal 4G access, it is 428 billion for the next 10 years as a horizon.
If we include in that factor the idea of making the internet greener, it's going to be easier, we're going to have better results if we do it earlier rather later and try to kind of undo the damage that we are doing along the way.
That's the crucial point I would make is if you start early, you're going to have better results and it's going to be more efficient for everyone.
>> JENNIFER CHUNG: Thanks, Teddy. And I know you promised us seven minutes. So I want to see if there is anybody in the audience that has something specific to ask Teddy before he has to run off to another session. Yes, if you can identify your name and maybe your affiliations.
>> AUDIENCE: Hello, I'm (?). Basically I see that electricity grid from the renewable sources or green energy just like wind power, biomass power, and green hydropower these factors decrease the impact of climate change on the environment.
As the climate summit also the focus to make this center of climate change and environment as a major in 2022 summit also.
So it can be because every environment this is the wider summit at IGF 2021 to make the center for clean environment and for to reduce the impact climate change. There are 46 (?) countries in the world. Green emissions come from the developing countries and affecting to the whole world.
The developed countries and developing that they will decrease the carbon emissions also. So now it is time to change using making the green efforts by making the green eco-friendly environment, and eco-friendly working places, and eco-friendly data centers, and eco-friendly activities to reduce the carbon emissions and make the future generations effective eco-friendly environment.
We should make it clear from the IGF summit agenda for climate summit next year, 2022, to make wider discussions among the stakeholders from the policy makers and planners and participants in the summit. I think that every countries are -- they are not only the climate impacts.
If one country will bring various impacts so they are various available. So every country are meeting the policy related to as for as part of the Nepal there is also climate change policies and also the environment laws focusing on the relation to climate activities.
In Nepal, there is a melting glacier. In every forum and every climate change summit, how to decrease the impact of climate change and impact of the internet license and impact of the power resources which are generating the climate change effects to reduce it.
I want to make a question that should make the contributions and make it to the policy makers, developers, planners, and other stakeholders and NGOs and the committee organizers that we should focus on this license by making the eco-friendly environment using the renewable sources of energies. We should support other sources of energy as well.
So we should focus on the biggest is electricity and it is the main source for all activities of our grids for the license and working and to use the license product. We should focus on the use of the renewable energy and reduce carbon emissions and make concrete ideas and concrete plan on climate change so that we make relevant ideas and relevant issues we can clear to you so that you more efficient for discussions on the climate change summit so that the policy changers, planners, developers can make innovations to reduce the climate change and using the renewable sources of energy and promoting for the license eco-friendly environment. Thank you.
>> JENNIFER CHUNG: Thank you. Do you have a response?
>> TEDDY WOODHOUSE: I will try to keep brief because I see Edmon's hand raised on the Zoom screen.
I think it's, you raise a critical point of how intertwined and how underappreciated how close the issues are.
The countries that are currently benefiting from the status quo have both. And there are so many people, too many people who do not have access to either.
I'm sorry, I actually have to compliment the Digital Nepal framework was actually one of the strongest performers of all of the 70 countries that we studied it was because of the recognition of this complementary that it was so strong performing.
So what we can do, just like a practical note, one of the areas of positive practice is in Pakistan and India where the universal service fund has operated to say we are going to partner with a mobile network operator to build into a new rural or remote area and put in the requirement that the new towers are solar rather than diesel powered so the crucial point of using the procurement power of government to nudge things in the right direction away from fossil fuels and towards renewables in the way that I think the accumulation of the small nudges in the right way hopefully will have an impact for all of us.
>> JENNIFER CHUNG: Thank you, Teddy, for that. I think we all do well to remember the accumulation of small nudges. I'm conscious you need to run to another session. Thank you so much for being here in our session and answering the question from Nepal.
The conversation does not stop here with Teddy, and we will make sure if you have more questions for him, his organization on the research and findings we will make sure to get you in contact with him so you can continue to ask.
Now I want to acknowledge, of course, the lovely Zoom room. I think Michael who is a super star moderating another session and also participating in our chat. He had a response for you delegate from Nepal, I'm sorry. And he mixed that there is the policy network on environment that is one of the -- hello.
There is somebody not muted in the Zoom room. If we can just -- if we can just mute. Thank you very much.
And he mentioned it is a policy network on environment which is one of the two policy networks new this year to IGF and interesting to see the different dimensions they consider and the outputs and papers they have put out as well.
I'm sure Michael will be able to drop that in the chat, but if not I will be able to find that for you and this will be extremely interesting to the participants here.
I would like to turn to Edmon. Your hand is down, Edmon, did you want to respond?
>> EDMON CHUNG: I was hoping to catch Teddy before he leaves. I don't know if you have one minute left.
>> TEDDY WOODHOUSE: Go for it.
>> EDMON CHUNG: I note that in your presentation you mentioned that the interesting observation about having the more users on the network the lower per user carbon emission and didn't go into the policy recommendations.
But I was reading that the sharing of the infrastructure is important. And that really reverberates well about our finding of the better efficiency and use of the network itself is actually an important part of direction.
I was hoping if you might be able to elaborate a little bit more on those couple of points.
>> TEDDY WOODHOUSE: Sure, to quickly add in on there, I think yeah, you are spot on. It is quite an important issue and I think it's -- it runs in surprisingly multifaceted ways. The more you think about it, the more layers you get into it.
Thinking about it from that technical perspective of not just necessarily telling mobile network operators play well and play nice with each other, share towers. It is things like internet exchange points and having open infrastructure that is commonly used to operate the network that has the positive impact for users as well.
Having more kind of local content hopefully leads to more relevant content that creation demand and have more people online and have the feedback of both responding to the idea of ways that we bring people online in a way that is relevant to them and justifying the expense of this infrastructure, but also building good infrastructure that is going to be open and environmentally friendly or more environmentally friendly than the worst case scenario which is closed walls and kind of privatized everywhere you go.
>> JENNIFER CHUNG: Thank you, Teddy. I know now we have to let you run.
I would like to open the floor for the audience in the room or on Zoom for anything any want to ask more about to the presenters, Daphne and Edmon.
I think it was quite interesting to see, a pilot part and any input or queries you might have would be extremely welcome. Anybody -- do we have anybody online that would like to --
>> AUDIENCE: I'm Sonya George. I have a question for Edmon.
I was curious to find out a bit more about your research and to what extent you are thinking of potentially using these as not just a framework for Asia and to expand within Asia but maybe a framework that we can use elsewhere in the world.
I think there is such a lack of good research in this area and that is what we have also, and Teddy has been leading that work doing a lot. But I think there is a lot that needs to be done.
I'm curious how do you think it is possible, especially given the data limitations and issues that you raised that were totally like so important.
And, of course, we at AFRIC would love to also consider that. Just putting it out there if you can give a quick answer and then maybe we can follow up. Thank you.
>> EDMON CHUNG: Thank you for that question. I think we focused on Asia because DotAsia is a little bit more focused on Asia.
But the framework we hope that it could be used elsewhere. In fact, we hope to -- we are trying to throw this out as a starting point and hopefully other regions and other areas -- organizations from other regions could -- would be interested to pick it up and even improve on it.
The data availability is something that we have been thinking through especially to try to find consistent data because it is only useful as comparative study if the data is somewhat consistent, right?
And so some of the dataset as I mentioned is from ITU from World Bank and so on and they represent -- and UNCTED and so on and they represent global data.
Definitely I think at least our starting point is to have the concept and the framework being able to be used in other places as well.
And we try to use internet exchange data as well and those would be a little bit more localized. This is an area where I find quite a bit of -- we find quite a bit of consistency as well, the type of data that internet exchanges keep and share is actually quite consistent across the board, across the globe.
So yes, I think we do have a global scope in mind. But for DotAsia we started with Asia and also focused in Asia and we are hoping that, you know, in fact, we could collaborate with others to bring it to other parts of the world.
But I was -- I wanted to also bring up that I'm just here to do the presentation, the bigger part of the research is actually Christine Or who is also online with us here from DotAsia, she has been leading the research, so I wonder if she wants to add something with some of the background research as well.
>> CHRISTINE OR: Thanks, Edmon. This is Christine. Hi, everyone. As mentioned by Edmon just now and also I attended the PNE session yesterday, I think when we were doing the research it was a little bit difficult when we were trying to find consistent data.
So as mentioned in the PNE session yesterday, I think data transparency and the standardization of how data is collected is also very important for our research and for us to look at the issue in a more accurate way. So that's my opinion on that. Thank you.
>> JENNIFER CHUNG: Thanks for the question, Sonya, and also for answering. Edmon and Christine, I think bringing the point up I guess both in terms of like looking at this just as a pilot study from Asia and seeing if there is synergies and collaborative efforts to look at other regions as well.
I know AFRI have looked at more global kind of case studies from around the different regions. And I think it would be a really good opportunity for us to see if there is -- I mean I'm sure there is, I can see very clear synergies that we can definitely cooperate.
And I want to also acknowledge in the chat we have a participant called Mark Urban and he has been also asking about synergies as well and asking about whether or not there is a similar kind of pilot program or interest in starting something like that in Latin America.
I also want to acknowledge people in the Zoom, if you have questions, feel free to use the raise hand button which I always have a problem looking for. I think it is in the reactions part.
So if you have any questions for Edmon, Daphne or just generally want to throw a question to the room for us to think about, please do go ahead and do that.
As I'm saying that, I see a question pop up immediately in the Zoom room. I think this is from Phyo. Would you like me to read this or would you like to go ahead and take the mic? If you are not able to take the mic, I would be happy to read it.
Okay. So the question from Phyo, I believe she is from Myanmar. She says that she is curious what kinds of further studies do DotAsia have a plan regarding developing countries in Asia? I don't know if Edmon, if you have any response to that?
>> EDMON CHUNG: Yeah. Thank you, Phyo, and thank you for connecting from Myanmar as well.
As we were going through the initial study, I guess the -- we looked at, you know, kind of trying to select some jurisdictions to look at.
And this relates back to the earlier question about available of data and the reason why we chose these few ones for I guess the first pilot study is that we were able to identify readily consistent data across and the challenge for developing countries is the -- sometimes is the lack of that consistent data.
However, the idea is that as we were going along, we were trying to identify datasets that were really -- that we could actually model -- create a model that allows us to create an indicator.
So whereas, of course, data is always more -- is always better and provides a better more accurate kind of picture, however, what we are looking at is to create a framework that can actually be brought to, you know, now with the pilot I think it could be brought to developing countries and utilizing a few data points that what we have seen is reported to the world band data or ITU data as well and using that as a proxy indicator for what we want to think about.
Because the idea is not to, you know, it is not that we would -- in fact, it is arguable how you determine the carbon footprint of the internet, but what we want to do is create a model that gives us an idea whether things are going in the right direction. And that is also what Teddy also mentioned.
And that in some ways relates to what Daphne mentioned. I think it is very useful. We can produce data, we can draw data, but do you know, would people trust what is being, you know, presented and actually act on it. That's going to be a key aspect.
I guess back to directly on your question, Phyo, I think we definitely hope to plan to include developing countries in the study. And, you know, hopefully in the real study, as I mentioned, one of the direction is to include, expand to many other jurisdictions across Asia so that we can do a more proper sort of comparison between the different countries and economies and how the direction is over time.
>> JENNIFER CHUNG: Thank you, Edmon. Phyo, I hope that answers part of your question. I think there is definite opportunities to look into the next iteration of the EII.
I think probably both Nepal and Myanmar could be economies and jurisdictions that we could look into, you know, completing this analysis if we get the data and we are going to try to do that I guess for the rest of the Asia region as well as expand to collaborate with other organizations in other regions as well.
I want to turn to a question that, you know, I guess coming back to the basics. I know Daphne, you were mentioning a trust and how important it is for us to trust in the data.
And I want to hear a little bit from you how can we increase the awareness and proactiveness amongst policy makers I guess in Hong Kong for your case? How do we urge them to prioritize climate change and urge them to set the goals to achieve sustainability?
>> DAPHNE MAH: I think right now the Hong Kong government has already set a carbon neutral goal by 2050 which is quite in line with the global trend. I think the key actually is now to set even more ambitious goal. More ambitious is always better as Edmon mentioned, more data is always better.
But the key is how we can really deliver that promise. And then we see that there are, of course, many possible approaches like using developing or renewable energy as many just now participants mentioned.
How to really drive the majority of people in Hong Kong to support those new policy directions is the key.
And so I think digitalization of data are very critical building blocks for us to build a consensus in Hong Kong so that we can support or push the government to really give ambitious policy. Even though like in Hong Kong for us to introduce dynamic pricing is the top number one most challenging task for the government.
But how to build the consensus especially in the phase that we are digital wise we are going for as smart society and smart city and smart grids.
We are not yet fully aware of these challenges ahead and we are kind of building up the understanding. Another point I would like to add is just now we talk about quite a lot on data. We need data badly. There are huge limitations for us to get good data to consolidate data.
My sense is relying on the government datasets would be presenting huge limitations. So we probably need to be much more proactive to develop more like bottom up approaches for us to build the data.
For example, I think just now we touch upon a very important issue that how we extend Edmon's team's studies to elsewhere like other developing countries.
So I think maybe one of the first point is that we can maybe identify good corporate partners in different developing countries that are big internet users so we can build up a dataset which would be more ready available. These are actually some comments I would like to share.
>> JENNIFER CHUNG: Thank you, Daphne. I cannot stress enough the importance of data, good data, as Daphne said. And also I guess the transparency of this data. If we cannot trust the datasets that we use to do the study on, then it is very difficult to be able to see, you know, accurate results coming out of calculation from these datasets. That's absolutely very crucial here.
I'm wondering if there is any audience members either in the room or in Zoom who do have any more questions for the panelists?
I'm going to give a few seconds for reaction. You can still react as I'm speaking. If not, then I guess we can probably just do a quick wrap-up. I guess Daphne, since I asked you the question already I think you probably have highlighted the points.
Are there any one last or two last key takeaways that you want us to really focus on? This is, what we really want the participants to take away from this? So I will go to Daphne first and then I will go to Edmon.
>> DAPHNE MAH: I think I just want to share my take home message for myself is make things shareable.
Because I think we talk about the internet users, we have different wide range of internet users including those in the best developed countries. And we are talking about how to open up or share internet infrastructure.
And then in terms of energy sector, we need to share with making it more accessible for renewable energy and for datasets we need to share and build shareable data platforms. For me, this is the take home words for me.
>> JENNIFER CHUNG: Thanks, Daphne. And Edmon, final words to you. What are the key takeaways you want us to focus on. And the floor is yours.
>> EDMON CHUNG: Thank you, and I cannot agree with Daphne more. In fact, I was quite surprised coming in to, you know, coming out of this session to find that it's -- as Teddy mentioned, there is so many levels of, you know, sharing that is important.
And I, you know, when we did the study, we felt that, you know, the -- a better sharing of the network capacity would actually help. And you know, now we found out that with the session how Teddy and also Daphne presented realizing how important it is for different levels of sharing as well.
And I think as the internet community I think that is what we do best, right? I mean that is what the internet is built on, a shared kind of trust. And I think this is something that is useful.
And in terms of takeaway, I think for us it's realizing not only the sharing but also that it's not so much sometimes about this whole kind of clickbait advocacy about the internet is occupying a huge carbon footprint, it is occupying an increasing carbon footprint and it is important to look at the power that powers the internet.
But it is also about what it replaces and what we can do with the internet to advocate, you know, for the power grid and grid emission factors and improvement in that. And that is really what I think our key finding is from at least from this pilot study.
And hopefully as we expand we can, you know, find more insights as well. Just before I close, I invite for those who would be willing or interested to follow our work, you can check in on EcoInternet.Asia. It is a coming soon site right now but connections to the Agitora initiative. You can check out Eco Internet.Asia to connect and also follow our work.
>> JENNIFER CHUNG: Thank you, Edmon. I think thank you for also the link to the site EcoInternet.Asia. We hope to get, of course, with permission the studies that the presentations from all of the speakers today.
I think Teddy had a really interesting slide that I also need to read a little closely on especially to do with policy recommendations. I think a lot of this is really food for thought for us.
There is a lot of opportunities for us to work together. This is after all why we are here at the Internet Governance Forum. Our Nepal delegate who has left the room but has mentioned there is a lot of work being done elsewhere in bigger forums and bigger meetings than right here at the IGF.
But it is crucial that we talk about climate change here, and it is very crucial that we talk about sustainability here because the internet touches every part of our lives.
And it is interesting, and I want to bring up one more time is when Teddy mentioned there is the social justification of this. When we are looking at developing countries, when we are looking at the least developing countries, oftentimes people think there is a choice between better internet or better opportunities or are we going to try to save the environment. It is never that choice. It is how to find balance to move forward in the most optimized way but that also requires cooperation from everyone, from all of the sector’s public and private as well.
The conversation does not stop here as in the chat and I also pulled up, there is a lot of work being done just here in the IGF ecosystem. The poly network on environment. DotAsia has the EII. And, of course, A for AI has their studies on looking at affordable accessibility as well.
So I welcome everybody who wants to be part of this conversation to help us to identify more areas we can look at to identify more countries we can take a look at and that actually help us to work together.
Because it is not only just, you know, trying to advocate for to ask the governments to look into greener energy grids. It is also actions that we can take ourselves and our personal responsibilities, too.
So the conversation doesn't end here and we welcome, of course, you to join us online. Join us online to further these efforts. Thank you so much for your time. And I'm wishing you all the rest of a really good Internet Governance Forum here in Poland and also online. Thank you very much.