Internet spews out 830 million tonnes of CO2

Internet, video and other cloud services, which comprise information communications and technology (ICT) industry, spews out more than 830 million tonnes of carbon dioxide annually, researchers found.

Carbon dioxide is also the main greenhouse gas; and the emissions from the information and communications industry alone accounts for about two percent of global CO2 emissions, the same proportion as the emissions from the aviation industry.

Projections suggest that the ICT sector's share is expected to double by 2020, according to researchers from the Centre for Energy-Efficient Telecommunications (CEET) and Bell Labs.

Researchers note that controlling those emissions requires more accurate but still feasible models, which take into account the data traffic, energy use and CO2 production in networks and other elements of the ICT industry, the journal Environmental Science & Technology reports.

Existing assessment models are inaccurate, so they set out to develop new approaches that better account for variations in equipment and other factors in the ICT industry, according to a CEET and Bell Labs statement.

Amid growing concern over the surprisingly large amount of greenhouse gas produced by the Internet and other telecom activities, researchers are reporting new models of emissions and energy consumption that could help reduce their carbon footprint.

The researchers suggest, based on their models, that more efficient power usage of facilities, more efficient use of energy-efficient equipment and renewable energy sources are three keys to reducing ICT emissions of CO2.

CEET is a partnership between Alcatel-Lucent, the University of Melbourne and the Victorian State Government.