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ICT key to reducing carbon emissions

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ICT-enabled solutions could reduce EU carbon emissions by over 1,5Gt CO2e by 2030 – this is a saving equivalent to almost 19 times the size of the expected footprint of the EU’s ICT sector in 2030, or 37% of the EU’s total emissions in 2012.
This is one of the findings of a BT report, “The role of ICT in reducing carbon emissions in the EU”, that highlights the central role ICT could play in combating climate change and promoting economic growth and prosperity across the European Union.
The report comes at a crucial time. Last December, at the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) summit in Paris, nations agreed to work to limiting global temperature increases to well below 2°C by 2100. Yet experts predict that if carbon output continues at the current rate, governments will fall short of that target, with temperatures increasing by at least 2,7°C.
BT’s president of government and public affairs Larry Stone comments: “Just one month ago the EU and governments worldwide met to sign the COP21 Paris Agreement to take action to limit temperature increases to well under 2°C. BT recognises that, by enabling the digital transformation of our economies and large scale energy efficiencies, ICT has the potential to help reduce carbon emissions both substantially and at speed.
“This report underpins our thinking, and shows that increased ICT deployment could enable significant carbon reductions, whilst also strengthening European economies.
“To make sure that we succeed together, it is important that ICT is considered at every step of the journey, and we call on policy makers to seize the moment and to move the ICT agenda forward.”
Key findings of the report include:
* ICT has the potential to facilitate in 2030 a reduction in emissions equal to 37% of the EU’s total emissions in 2012;
* The ICT sector could generate new revenue to the tune of €678-billion and cost savings of €643-billion;
* The majority of gains (53%) that can be driven by ICT are in improving energy efficiency.
The report also found that smart manufacturing, smart buildings, and smart energy are potentially the most promising ICT-enabled carbon reduction solutions, accounting for almost 74% of potential carbon savings analysed within the report.
The report also revealed how European countries are at different stages of readiness to instigate ICT-driven carbon reduction solutions, with the UK and Germany of the larger countries being in a leading position to implement such measures.
It further indicates that France could reap economic benefit from ICT equivalent to over €191-billion, and Italy and Spain could generate €117-billion and €113-billion respectively in sustainable economic growth through ICT-enabled carbon reductions.
Stone adds: “Increased use of ICT solutions could help ensure the European Union meets its carbon emissions reduction targets. They are also an important enabler for the circular economy. This potential gain from digitisation of industry and governments, and how we all work and consume, is important for all our futures.”