ICT is becoming increasingly ubiquitous in our work and home and as our reliance on technology grows so too does our demand for energy and consequent level of CO2 emissions. Gartner has estimated that the IT industry is responsible for 2% of CO2 emissions, which is equivalent to the impact of the airline industry. But, for the more advanced and technologically-centred economies of the US, Japan and Europe, the number is more likely on the order of 5 percent to 6 percent and growing at double-digit rates. Japan’s METI has forecasted that by 2025 ICT will consume 20 percent of all electricity in Japan
We should note that from a holistic view, “greening” ICT is not just about reducing direct power consumption. With a personal computer, for example, 60 to 80 percent or more of the lifecycle carbon footprint of the device comes in fact from the manufacturing of the device. IT equipment and consumer electronics are very energy and materials intensive in manufacturing, have short life spans and become toxic e-waste at the end of their useful lives.
Studies such as the recent GeSI SMART 2020 clearly show that more effective use of ICTs can deliver tremendous CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) savings.