Those, who want to design climate-friendly leisure activities think first of travel options using public transportation, charging infrastructure for electric vehicles, a good network of biking and hiking trails, or the use of regional products.
At the same time, mobile services are being developed such as free Wifi in public spaces, destination apps, online hiking guides, etc. But hardly anyone thinks about how climate-friendly online offers actually are.
Therefore our fact check:
In Western countries, information and communication technologies (ICT) are already responsible for around 20% of total electricity consumption.
On the one hand, this is due to the electricity required to manufacture and also charge the various devices such as PCs, laptops, tablets and, of course, smartphones. Although devices become increasingly energy-efficient, the quantity and use of these devices is also increasing, so that overall power consumption is still rising.
On the other hand, energy requirements are increasing due to the use of cloud services and the growing volumes of data that run via mobile telecom networks.
Cryptocurrencies such as bitcoins are particularly harmful to the climate. Their generation requires an enormous amount of energy – and the trend is rising. According to ZDF, researchers at Cambridge University found that the climate damage caused by cryptocurrencies is on par with the damage caused by other, energy-intensive processes such as the production of beef or the generation of electricity from fossil fuels.
So cryptocurrencies are certainly unsuitable for climate-friendly leisure activities!
The fact is that the data centers of Google & Co require a lot of energy for power supply and cooling. And of course, data transmission and end devices also consume energy accordingly.
So does someone who takes part in an all-day conference virtually actually act in a more climate-friendly way than the participants who are there in person? And how much CO² emissions does online presence actually generate?
Even though the various calculations are based on different criteria, the following selection facilitates a classification of the climate friendliness of the Internet:
Of course, destination marketing without the Internet is impossible. And even climate-friendly leisure activities will not be able to get by entirely without ICT.
But there are still ways to reduce CO² emissions without having to forego modern communication: