ENVIRONMENTAL COSTS OF A DIGITAL PLANET
19, May 2019
Prelims level : Environmental Impact assessment Mains level : Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.
Why in News:
- Technology is a solution to the world’s environmental challenges, but also part of the problem. Industry executives are facing rising pressure to clean up their energy and resource-intensive business.
- There are the server farms crunching mammoth amounts of data which require huge amounts of electricity both to run and to power air-conditioning which keeps the equipment from getting too hot.
- Under the current global energy mix, the share of greenhouse gas emissions from information and communication technologies will rise from 2.5% in 2013 to 4% in 2020 the French think-tank Shift Project said in a recent report.
- The Basel Action Network NGO estimates that the European Union exports some 350,000 tons of electronic and electrical waste (a category that also includes appliances like washing machines) to developing countries each year.
- The race to extract the rare-earth metals essential for modern phones and other devices, leading to deforestation and water pollution, is also an environmental threat in Africa and Asia.
India, the third-highest contributor
- India, the third-highest contributor, is projected to see emissions rise by 6.3% from 2017.
- According to the study, there is 2.7% projected global rise in 2018 has been driven by appreciable growth in coal use for the second year in a row, and sustained growth in oil and gas use.
- Representatives from more than 190 countries have begun discussions at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 24) in Katowice, Poland, on ways to equitably cut carbon emissions.