Reduce Energy and Emissions
According to the ITU, ICT’s share of global electricity consumption was projected to reach 3.2 per cent in 2020. Depending on scope and method of calculation, some estimates suggest that the ICT sector could be up to 7 per cent of the total global electricity use in 2020. Peer-reviewed studies estimate ICT’s current share of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions ranging from 1.8%–3.9% depending on the calculation method.The explosion of digital cryptocurrencies is also accelerating energy consumption and associated carbon footprint. The carbon footprint of the Bitcoin network, annualized from 2017-2022, was a staggering 114 megatons comparable to the carbon footprint of Czech Republic.
Some strategies to address this have focused on investments in sustainable decentralized renewable energy infrastructure and green data centers (see Supplement 1, Box 13). More broadly, common standards are needed to ensure the energy consumption and carbon emissions of digital platforms be transparently aggregated and calculated to support the calculation of Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions for carbon accounting. Enabling policies and incentivization mechanisms such as sustainable public procurement can thus ensure compliance with such global standards.