Internet emits 830 million tonnes of carbon dioxide

Internet and other components of information communication and technology (ICT) industry annually produces more than 830 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2), the main greenhouse gas, and is expected to double by 2020, a new study has found.

Researchers from the Centre for Energy-Efficient Telecommunications (CEET) and Bell Labs explain that the information communications and technology (ICT) industry, which delivers Internet, video, voice and other cloud services, produces about 2 per cent of global CO2 emissions the same proportion as the aviation industry produces.

In the report published in journal Environmental Science & Technology, researchers said their projections suggest that ICT sector's share in greenhouse gas emission is expected to double by 2020.

They have also found new models of emissions and energy consumption that could help reduce their carbon footprint.

The study said that controlling those emissions requires more accurate but still feasible models, which take into account the data traffic, energy use and CO2 production in networks and other elements of the ICT industry.

Existing assessment models are inaccurate, so they set out to develop new approaches that better account for variations in equipment and other factors in the ICT industry.

They describe development and testing of two new models that better estimate the energy consumption and CO2 emissions of Internet and telecommunications services.

The researchers suggest, based on their models, that more efficient power usage of facilities, more efficient use of energy-efficient equipment and renewable energy sources are three keys to reducing ICT emissions of CO2.

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