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PCs, Phones Emit More Greenhouse Gases Than Planes

All that convenient technology is catching up with us, revealing an inconvenient truth: that computers, phones, TVs, and other tech emits far more greenhouse gas than the entire aviation industry.

Researchers at Lancaster University found that previous studies understated the impact of information and communication technology (ICT) on the environment.

The ICT industry is actually responsible for 3.9 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions, compared to the 2 per cent the aviation industry gives off.

“The term ‘ICT’ doesn’t just cover phones and computers, but also other aspects of ICT such as networks and data centres,” said study author Dr Kelly Widdicks at Lancaster University.

“Much more needs to be done by the ICT sector to understand and mitigate its footprint, beyond focusing on a transition to renewables and voluntary carbon reduction targets.

“We need a comprehensive evidence base of ICT’s environmental impacts as well as mechanisms to ensure the responsible design of technology that is in-line with the Paris Agreement.”

A big culprit is LCD screens, which emit fluorinated greenhouse gases into the atmosphere when created, and release carbon dioxide and toxic chemicals when disposed of.

The rise of streaming has also seen more energy used by the transferring of data.

The study concludes the our use of ICT could be the factor that sees us fail to reach net zero by 2050.


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