Borderstep scientists publish journal article
  • © jordan mcqueen - unsplash

How big is the greenhouse gas footprint of ICT?

How big is the greenhouse gas footprint of information and communications technology? A recent journal article by Borderstep scientists Dr. Ralph Hintemann and Dr. Severin Beucker sheds light on this.

Various studies have assessed the GHG footprint of the ICT sector (ICT end-user devices, data centers, telecommunication networks) and the potential of ICT use cases (e.g. smart homes, ride sharing) to avoid greenhouse gas emissions in other sectors (e.g buildings, transport).

The text, published in the journal Environmental Impact Assessment Review, systematically compares relevant studies from the last ten years and discuss the robustness of results in view of the methods used.

The results show that the ICT sector causes between 1.5% and 4% of global GHG emissions. A major share of which is due to the production of ICT end-user devices. Estimating GHG impacts of device production is the main source of uncertainty.

Key findings of the article:

  • The GHG footprint of ICT sector lies between 1.5% and 4% today and is expected to increase.
  • 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.

The article can be accessed free of charge

Your Contacts

Dr. Severin Beucker
  • Senior Researcher
  • Co-founder and CEO
Dr. Ralph Hintemann
  • Senior Researcher

Borderstep News

Smart City: How can development be managed? 02.02.2023

In a recent article for the Israel Public Policy Institute, Borderstep co-founder and senior researcher Dr. Severin Beucker looks at the state of the debate on this issue in Germany. The article can be downloaded free of charge. More

How big is the greenhouse gas footprint of ICT? 24.01.2023

This is investigated in an article published in the journal "Environmental Impact Assessment Review". Co-authors include Borderstep senior researchers Dr. Ralph Hintemann and Dr. Severin Beucker. The article can be downloaded free of charge. More

Founder platform: Borderstep develops “green” offer 24.01.2023

Borderstep supports the development of the offer for green start-ups on the founder platform of BMWK and KfW. This includes a weekly virtual start-up café, which Borderstep moderates. More