Trends

Digitisation could save every fifth tonne of CO2

We have already shown at //next that digital solutions have what it takes to reduce global energy demand and thus contribute to climate protection. A current study by the IT industry association BITKOM sounds the same horn by calculating the CO2 savings potential for Germany - and in doing so it looks at seven industries in particular. 

According to the study, CO2 emissions in Germany can be reduced by up to 151 megatonnes of CO2 in the next ten years through the targeted and accelerated use of digital solutions. This corresponds to about one fifth of today's CO2 emissions in the Federal Republic.

Seven areas of application with particularly high savings potential

The Bitkom study was conducted by environmental and digitalisation experts at Accenture. It examines those seven application areas of digital technologies in which a particularly large CO2 saving effect can be achieved. These are 

  • industrial manufacturing
  • mobility
  • energy
  • buildings
  • work & business
  • agriculture and 
  • health. 

How much CO2 do digital technologies emit?

At the same time, the CO2 emissions caused by the digital technologies themselves are also examined. In particular, the production and operation of end devices such as screens, computers or tablets, but also the operation of the network infrastructure and data centres indirectly cause CO2 emissions. If digitisation continues at a moderate pace, around 16 megatonnes of CO2 will be emitted annually in 2030. If digitisation accelerates, the figure will be 22 megatonnes. Overall, the study concludes, the CO2 savings potential of the digital technologies considered here is more than six times higher than their own emissions.

Further information

More about the seven application areas and their respective savings potential can be found here (in German):

www.bitkom.org/Presse/Presseinformation/Digitalisierung-kann-jede-fuenfte-Tonne-CO2-einsparen

You can find the complete study as a PDF (in German) here:

www.bitkom.org/sites/default/files/2021-03/bitkom_studie_klimaeffekte-der-digitalisierung_final_210318.pdf

Text: Ingo Schenk