We know that many businesses are already negatively impacted by climate change and will continue to be negatively impacted in the future. Two to three percent of all greenhouse gas emissions worldwide are from the tech industry. In 2019, data centres that mined the cryptocurrency Bitcoin alone used as much power as Belgium or up to 0.3% of the world’s total. To combat climate change, IT companies and organisations need to embrace new working practices.
Why does the tech industry need to deal with emissions brought on by streaming and scrolling?
The most recent tech bubble has burst. So now is a wonderful moment to consider what these businesses have contributed to the globe. They have undoubtedly made it possible to:
- Watch movies and TV shows quickly
- Participate in international debates
- Use digital currencies to challenge the current economic system
But what about their effect on the environment?
As we approach a new era in the tech industry, paired with an increased need for eco-friendly businesses, these corporations must address how the technology sector impacts the environment. According to research, the amount of electronic garbage (e-waste), which includes anything from chargers to photocopiers, might treble between 2014 and 2030. New rules have also started to address this physical waste, including chargers and gadget maintenance.
How is the Crypto mining Tech Industry affecting our environment?
You’ve probably heard that the massive energy required to “mine” or create digital currencies harms the environment. According to one research, it can use more power than mining several comparable natural minerals like copper, gold, or platinum (by market value). According to some calculations, the purchasing and selling of Bitcoin produce 18 million tons of carbon dioxide annually.
Carbon Footprint due to online Tech activities:
People who have yet to invest in digital currencies could be shocked by the carbon footprint their online activities are leaving behind. According to estimates, watching the whole season of Breaking Bad on Netflix produces the same amount of pollution as traveling 27 miles.
Even the daily scrolling on social media that takes the typical user 2 hours and 24 minutes results in emissions comparable to driving more than 330 miles in a fuelled vehicle. Our emissions vary depending on where in the globe we are and how electricity produce to power our TV, computer, or smartphone.
Additionally, the digital businesses we interact with fuel their infrastructures in diverse ways. Of the top 10 social networking applications, Facebook currently asserts that it is carbon neutral. However, TikTok and Reddit have giant carbon footprints.
How can we reduce global warming by adopting relevant measures?
Minor personal adjustments to our online behaviours can have a significant cumulative effect. Since every digital engagement we have impacts emissions, British adults could reduce their annual carbon emissions by 16,433 tons if they only wrote one fewer “thank you” email. Of course, the digital approach is far less harmful if the choice is between traveling, especially by plane, and writing an email or video chat.
However, it will require more than just encouraging consumers to send fewer emails to address big companies’ power consumption and environmental practices seriously. The first step is to foster the standardisation of the tech industry fuelled by renewable energy sources.
The carbon emissions produced by digital technology are equal to those of the aviation sector and are rising. By removing the supply chain’s fossil fuel burning from digital technology, a switch to renewable energy would reduce the harm it causes.
According to research by the International Telecommunications Union, a United Nations agency, digital technology might aid in cutting global carbon emissions by 17%. For instance, industry insiders claim artificial intelligence might help improve electric transmission systems’ effectiveness. Concerned individuals may be able to trace corporate carbon emissions thanks to blockchain technology. Additionally, you may enhance the use of satellites for monitoring environmental changes, including illegal mining, forestry, and garbage disposal on land and at sea.
Second, we must prohibit or scale down emission-intensive enterprises that produce enormous income at the cost of consumers. It guarantees enough renewable energy sources available to power the rest of society and the tech industry.