How much does digitalization contribute to climate protection?
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Climate Protection Potentials of the Digital Transformation

In the project Climate Protection Potentials of Digital Transformation (CliDiTrans), the climate protection effects of digitisation are analysed on the basis of case studies and macroeconomic considerations.

The digitisation of the economy and society is a key driver of change in the world of life and work. Digitisation can lead to significantly more climate protection.

The increasingly decentralised availability and rapidly evolving performance of information and communication technologies (ICT) and the Internet infrastructure are constantly enabling new types of applications. For example, cloud computing, 3D printing, the analysis of large amounts of data in real time (big data) or the intelligent networking and automation of production processes (industry 4.0). Consumption, work and production processes, even industrial structures, are being changed by digitization.

Some studies are calculating the potential for reducing global CO2 emissions through ICT by up to 20 percent by 2030. These studies, however, do not take two essential aspects of increasing digitization into account, or do so only inadequately:

  • First, digitization triggers changes in demand. Completely new products and services are emerging or existing solutions are becoming better quality and cheaper at the same time, so that there is greater demand for them.
  • Secondly, the use of ICT solutions is associated with national and international shifts in production processes.

This is exactly where the planned project comes in. Borderstep, the Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung GmbH (ZEW) and the practice partner Zweckverband Kommunale Datenverarbeitung Oldenburg (KDO) will jointly analyse the climate protection effects of digitisation on the basis of case studies and macroeconomic considerations.

In addition, the possible contribution of digitisation to climate protection will be determined, taking into account the possible effects of digitisation on changes in demand and relocation of production.

The project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) within the framework of the funding priority Economics of Climate Change.

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