25 Nov 2020, 14:24
Sören Amelang

IT industry says digitalisation can get Germany halfway to 2030 climate targets

Clean Energy Wire

Digitalisation can induce almost half of the emissions reduction Germany needs to reach its 2030 climate targets, according to the country's digital industry association Bitkom. A study by consultancy Accenture commissioned by the lobby group said that a "targeted and accelerated use of digital solutions" can lower CO2 output by 120 million tonnes within ten years towards a government reduction target of 262 million tonnes by 2030 compared to 2019, according to a press release. "Digital technologies have a huge potential for more climate protection," said Bitkom President Achim Berg, who referred to digitalisation as "an extremely powerful lever" to reduce emissions quickly and effectively.

The study, which will be presented in detail next week, looked at the potential of digitalisation in industry, mobility, buildings, and work. It found that industry offered the largest potential to use digital technologies in the fight against climate change, because it could lower sector emissions by up to 61 million tonnes in an "accelerated rollout" scenario and by 35 million tonnes if the speed of digitalisation is "moderate”. Crucial applications are the automation of production to make it much more efficient, and "digital twin" technologies, whereby virtual models replace physical processes. In mobility, digitalisation can save between 17 and 28 million tonnes, for example by intelligent traffic control, smart logistics to avoid empty trips, and sharing models that lower individual mobility. Smart home technologies can be used to save energy in buildings, while the expansion of remote work reduces commuting and business trips, the study says.

The authors estimate that digital technologies can save around five times more emissions than they will cause during production and operation. In a survey commissioned by the association, three quarters of companies said they had already lowered emissions using digital technologies. Almost half of companies said they already use intelligent lighting, a quarter has intelligent heating, and 7 out of ten have replaced business trips with video conferencing.

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