Comprehensive digitization in mobility and transport, industrial manufacturing and buildings can contribute almost half to meeting Germany’s climate targets, according to an Accenture study. "Up to 120 megatons of carbon dioxide can be saved by 2030 in a best-case scenario", said Achim Berg, president of the digital association Bitkom, which commissioned the study.
This corresponds to almost every second ton of what Germany still has to save in order to achieve the climate targets it has set itself. "The faster and more consistently digital technologies are deployed, the more CO2 we can save in the future", Berg said according to the press release. With the Paris climate protection agreement, Germany committed itself in 2015 to achieving certain climate targets and introducing measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In 2019, CO2 emissions were still at 805 megatons. In 2030, this may only amount to 543 megatons.
Speed of digitization crucial
The study examines a total of seven application areas for digital technologies in which a particularly large CO2 savings effect can be achieved. The results now presented relate to four areas, namely industrial manufacturing, mobility, buildings and labor Business. Agriculture, energy and health will follow by spring 2021.
The decisive factor will be the speed at which digitization is driven forward in the coming decade, according to Bitkom. The study puts the CO2 savings potential of the four areas under consideration at around 78 megatons by 2030, aming a rather moderate development of digitization as is currently taking place in Germany – that is 30 percent of the necessary CO2 savings. Accelerated and targeted digitization, on the other hand, could reduce CO2 emissions by 120 megatons. This corresponds to 46 percent of the necessary savings.
Additional CO2 emissions
However, increasing use of digital technologies also generated its own CO2 emissions. The manufacture and operation of end devices, as well as the operation of network infrastructure and data centers, could account for around 16 megatons per year in a moderate scenario, according to the study. In the accelerated digitization scenario, this could amount to 22 megatons. However, Bitkom argues that this is justified by the potential savings. In addition, digitization can be made more environmentally friendly by expanding the supply of electricity from renewable energies.
The German economy has also already been able to achieve positive effects through the use of digital technology, according to a survey conducted by Bitkom. According to the study, 77 percent of the companies surveyed had been able to reduce their CO2 emissions by using this service. 63 percent had been able to manage energy more efficiently. Among the companies’ mabreaches were replacing business travel with videoconferencing (about 70 percent), smart lighting systems (44 percent) and smart heating or cooling (23 percent).