How big is the greenhouse gas footprint of ICT?
How big is the greenhouse gas footprint of information and communications technology? Which effects does the information and communication technology sector have on greenhouse gas emissions? Borderstep Institute senior researchers Dr. Severin Beucker and Dr. Ralph Hintemann co-authored an article in the journal Environmental Impact Assessment Review.
The text systematically compares relevant studies from the last ten years and discuss the robustness of results in view of the methods used. The paper is based on the project “Climate protection through digital technology” conducted by the University of Zurich and the Borderstep Institute on behalf of Germany’s digital association Bitkom.
The comparison of different studies shows that:
- The information and communication technology sectors accounts for around 1.5% to 4% of the global greenhouse gas emissions.
- The production of end-user devices accounts for most of the greenhouse gas emissions.
- ICT applications have great theoretical potential for avoiding GHG emissions.
- Most studies do not consider rebound effects; it remains open how the potentials can be realized in real-life setting.
More information on the project (in German) you find here.
Dr. Jan C.T. Bieser I University of Zurich; Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute
Dr. Ralph Hintemann I Borderstep Institute
Prof. Dr. Lorenz M. Hilty I University of Zurich
Dr. Severin Beucker I Borderstep Institute
The article can be accessed free of charge
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