Do digital devices reduce energy and emissions? Our climate podcast digitalisation episode finds that the answer’s not as clear as you might think

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Video-conferencing should be good for the environment. Instead of business teams commuting to a single office in vehicles that emit greenhouse gases, they can meet virtually on screen. But if they don’t have to come to an office, the team might end up living far apart, even in different countries. So their occasional meetings could generate a still greater amount of carbon emissions.

That’s the kind of dilemma we’re looking at in our climate podcast digitalisation episode. Is the production and use of digital devices good for the environment—because we don’t need to cut down a tree to make the paper for you to read the news, for example. Or are there just so many of these devices that they end up consuming more resources than ever.

You’ll find out on Climate Solutions.

Subscribe to the entire series of Climate Solutions from the European Investment Bank, the EU climate bank. Learn what you should do to fight climate change in the oceans, on the road, on your dinner plate and even in the windowbox of your apartment.

In the climate podcast digital episode, you’ll find out:

  • some studies say that the carbon dioxide emitted by digital technologies has increased by around 450 million tonnes since 2013 in OECD countries
  • but others indicate that emissions have flattened out in recent years, because ICT equipment is more energy efficient
  • the connection between Abraham Lincoln’s second inauguration, Lewis Carrol’s publication of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and the theory formulated by a British economist named William Stanley Jevons that explains why more efficient digital devices might lead to an apparently paradoxical increase in emissions
  • why the circular economy could be key to ensuring that the production and use of digital devices doesn’t increase greenhouse gas emissions in the long run

If you’ve got something to say about climate in general or this podcast in particular, let me know @EIBMatt on Twitter. And don’t forget to subscribe to Climate Solutions.