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The impact of digital technology on the green economy

The shortage of an agreed framework of measuring and modelling digital impression on vitality consumption in numerous sectors results in many opposing views in relation to an evaluation of digital applied sciences on inexperienced progress in Europe, in line with a brand new report.


The innovation accelerator EIT Digital’s newest Makers & Shapers report explores whether or not Europe’s accelerated digital transformation helps to cut back non-green vitality use or will an growing digitalisation of enterprise and business quite the opposite improve consumption of non-green vitality within the total economic system?


Sustainable digital future


The report discusses opposing angles and opinions and goals to current policymakers with eventualities that help their choices on regulatory frameworks main in direction of a sustainable digital future.


The worldwide agenda to realize sustainable improvement relies on total aims reminiscent of Inexperienced Development and the Inexperienced New Deal. The function of digital applied sciences to realize inexperienced progress is, nevertheless, a subject of opposing opinions. Central to the talk, mentioned EIT Digital, is the query whether or not discount in non-green vitality use by way of digital know-how within the total economic system is bigger than the rise in non-green vitality consumption within the total economic system.

“By current and introduction of latest measures, policymakers – the ‘shapers’ – may doubtlessly lead us in direction of a really perfect state of affairs the place virtually all results could be directed positively”

EIT Digital considers 4 results of digital applied sciences on vitality consumption: the vitality consumption of digital know-how; the impact of digital applied sciences on vitality effectivity total, together with rebound results; digital technologies-driven substitution; and behavioural results.

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Based mostly on these results, the report develops 4 excessive eventualities alongside two axes: vitality effectivity of digital applied sciences; and economy-wide vitality effectivity:

    • within the compensation state of affairs: low vitality effectivity within the digital applied sciences sector is compensated by excessive vitality effectivity in all different sectors, additionally because of using digital know-how options

    • within the utopia state of affairs: excessive vitality effectivity of digital applied sciences is taken up within the total economic system to cut back vitality use

    • within the dystopia state of affairs: we discover low vitality effectivity of digital mixed with low vitality effectivity in different sectors; and

    • within the deprivation state of affairs: the digital sector has excessive vitality effectivity, but different sectors are disadvantaged from utilizing it.

Based mostly on analysis of current analysis and literature in addition to interdisciplinary stakeholder discussions, the report involves 4 most important conclusions:

    • the shortage of an agreed framework of measuring and modelling digital impression on vitality consumption in numerous sectors results in many opposing views. To have a fact-based dialogue, an agreed framework needs to be put in place based mostly on worldwide requirements to mannequin and quantify the impression of digital know-how on vitality consumption in numerous economic system sectors

    • though a discount of vitality consumption of digital applied sciences as such is related and needs to be pursued, this vitality consumption is lower than 10 per cent of the overall vitality consumption

    • the impression of the applying of digital know-how on vitality consumption varies strongly throughout financial sectors. Subsequently, the main focus needs to be on these sectors the place the potential achieve is excessive. For instance, the Covid pandemic confirmed that transferring bodily conferences on-line results in considerably much less journey leading to considerably decreased vitality consumption

    • when making use of digital know-how in particular sectors, consideration have to be paid to doable rebound results, whereby the vitality financial savings achieved in a single area are offset by reuse of vitality in one other area. These are linked to each behavioural (as an example, shoppers’ substitution waves) and structural elements (as an example, vitality output elasticity of sure sectors) that may be contained solely by way of sturdy interventions reminiscent of taxation and incentives.

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