A study published in 2021 indicates that the carbon footprint of digitization is greater than previous estimates and that, if not changed, it will continue to increase.
Researchers from Lancaster University and the consultancy Small World Consulting, (UK), analyzed three of the main studies that evaluated digitalization emissions, since 2015. Global greenhouse gas emissions are around 2.1 and 3.9%, which puts emissions produced by new technologies above the contribution of the world aviation industry, which is around 2%.
If we think about it, ICT products and technologies generate emissions throughout their entire life cycle, starting with mining, going through the production of the devices, through the energy that feeds them, until their disposal.
According to the authors of the study, the analysis carried out, suggests that not all carbon commitments are ambitious enough to meet climate goals and there are no adequate mechanisms to control these commitments. Industry-specific legislation and regulation will be needed to allow alignment between the ICT carbon footprint and the Paris Agreement.