ESCAP is part of the UN. By design, it is better positioned to work across silos than specialized agencies such as the ITU and WHO. One of the key points made about the sustainable development goals that were recently adopted is that they require working across silos. Big data naturally cuts across disciplinary boundaries. It transcends organizational silos.
LIRNEasia was among team of researchers under the umbrella of Data-Pop Alliance was contracted to produce a synthesis report as part of a DfID project on Big Data for climate change and disaster resilience in developing countries, meant to feed into the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit. In this context I participated in a discussion workshop in London on June 5, 2015. Also participating were researchers from Flowminder (working on big data and climate change issues in Bangladesh) and University College London (analyzing all kinds of big data, including GPS locations of fishing fleets worldwide and data from public-transport payment cards. There was much discussion about how big data research could be made more responsive to the needs of users (defined as including citizens rather than government officials) and on inclusiveness. As the only South-based research organization that had obtained data and conceptualized and executed big data research, LIRNEasia was asked to present its experience in the form of a case study on how barriers to data access could be overcome.
Our agri value chain work starts from the agriculture side and hopes to end up with solutions that include ICTs is some form. This is not that easy. This fascinating article about how venture capital is focusing on ICT applications gives some excellent ideas. His firm has invested in RelayRides and other start-ups that stretch the definition of clean tech investing. They include the Climate Corporation, for extreme weather insurance; Clean Power Finance, which runs an online marketplace for financing residential solar panels; and Transphorm, which makes tools that reduce power loss when electricity is converted in data centers or industrial motors.
The colloquium was conducted by Nalaka Gunawardena. The colloquium began by Nalaka explaining the big picture; Climate change and energy use. Global warming is not new but the rate of global warming is. There is a multiplicity of gases causing global warming and their sources. Looking at the Green House Gas (GHG) mix, Carbon Dioxide is dominant.
The Directorate of Environment, European Commission organises the conference ‘The Civil Protection Forum – Towards a more resilient society’ that aims to explore the concept of resilience. Climate change is likely to increase the frequency and impact of disasters, and Europe has to be prepared for this challenge. The Forum will start a debate on a comprehensive European disaster management strategy to enhance resilience. Around 500 delegates, speakers and exhibitors from politics, academia, the civil protection services and international organisations are expected to participate. Chanuka Wattegama, Senior Research Manager, LIRNEasia will be one of the speakers in the six practice-oriented seminars will look more closely at how European civil protection works in the field – how does it integrate with other international actors, three major phases of an emergency (prevention, preparedness, and response) and the roles of different stakeholders (institutions, civil protection professionals and civil society).
We have written about this endless loop of reasoning before. But I guess someone thinks this perpetual motion exercise does some good. AVIATION has long been blamed for its share of anthropogenic global warming. Indeed, some travellers now ask themselves whether their flight is strictly necessary and, if they decide it is, salve their consciences by paying for the planting of trees. These, so they hope, will absorb the equivalent of their sinful emissions.
Over the coming months, there will be much talk about ICTs and global climate change and e waste. There will be bad and good research and tricks to raise taxes in the name of the environment. Here is a nice balanced report by the Economist: So computing does indeed have a role in fighting climate change, but that role mainly involves using computers in new ways, rather than making the machines themselves more efficient. It is time for the industry to start thinking outside the box, as it were.
Using the opportunity created by an invitation to make a dinner speech at the second international symposium of the Sabaragamuwa University, in scenic Belihuloya, I worked up a talk that drew on three different strands of LIRNEasia work, Teleuse@BOP, m-gov services and AgInfo, to work up what I thought to be a useful talk on what ICTs can do to help alleviate climate change caused by green house gases. The slideset (a tad big because of all the nice pictures) is here. Once the paper is ready for publication, a pre-pub version will appear here.