Tech & Climate Change

There’s little doubt that the tech sector has a large — and growing — impact on the environment. Data centres can be energy hogs; one study forecasts that they’ll account for 33% of global electricity consumption by 2025. Another claims that in the next 10 years they will produce close to five times the CO2 emissions of air travel. Electronic waste is another issue: the United Nations reports that 50 million tons of e-waste are produced each year. And some tech-driven companies enable wasteful practices, such as fast fashion and scores of idling vehicles.

But it isn’t all bad news. A new data centre study has found that while energy consumption is increasing, it’s begun to level off, while computing capacity grew six-fold from 2010 to 2018. And many of the largest providers of cloud services have made commitments to become carbon neutral: Microsoft, for example, has announced that by 2050 it will remove “all of the carbon” that it has emitted since it was founded in 1975. And in February the GSMA announced that 29 mobile operator groups representing 30% of global mobile connections have committed to new Science-Based Targets that include the reduction of emissions by at least 45% by 2030.

Tech companies are also developing new solutions to climate issues: improving efficiency through the use of AI; measuring and monitoring more effectively with IoT, and creating new energy storage and transmission techniques.

Will these activities have a genuine positive impact on the planet? Or is much of this just green-washing?

For more information click here.

15 July 2020