Green and Digital: at odds or in sync?
All across the world, countries are striving for the joint prize of a green, sustainable economy and digitally-enabled prosperity and growth. In Europe this ‘twin transition’ is shaping economic and political priorities.
Digitalisation and sustainability can both bring stability and opportunities, and together programmes like smart energy grids can deliver jobs, efficiency and eventually better prices for consumers. But our climate systems need to be fixed on a global scale and here, the two ambitions don’t always align.
As digital technology gets ever more advanced it becomes more energy intensive. Zero carbon data centres are emerging but as more people come online the demand for processing data and carrying out secure transactions is accelerating.
How quickly can technology become climate neutral across the world?
What can we learn from ambitious programmes to use digital technology to dramatically reduce energy use and create a cleaner, greener, circular economy?
Will the growth in connectivity and advanced tech such as blockchain, AI and large language models like ChatGPT undermine anything that technology could do to accelerate the green transition?
Do we need to rethink how we innovate with digital technology and put the environment at the centre of strategies and decisions? Is there something in its business model that makes it incompatible with sustainability? Or is it a question of fixing the energy problem?
How can institutions, companies and consumers push for mutually supporting digital and climate solutions?
It’s time for stakeholders from across the board to Start Talking and think big about how we can reach both goals in time.
Technological solutions can and need to help manage the complex transition towards sustainability and climate neutrality.
Particular applications such as blockchain have come under scrutiny for their energy intensity, but all across the system, data centres, content delivery and transactions carry a carbon cost.