Brussels, 13 May 2008
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As part of its effort to combat climate change, the European Commission today announced that it would promote the use of ICT (Information and Communications Technologies) to improve energy efficiency throughout the economy, starting with buildings, lighting and the power grid. ICT can enable, across the economy, greener behaviour, which would massively cut Europe's carbon footprint if widely deployed. The Commission will encourage the ICT industry to demonstrate leadership in reducing its own CO2 emissions and by identifying and creating solutions that will benefit the whole economy. For instance the most advanced computer servers consume the same amount of energy as a standard light bulb; if widely used they could offer potential energy savings of up to 70%.
"To meet Europe's energy efficiency goals by 2020, we need a high growth, low carbon economy. Research and rapid take-up of innovative energy efficient ICT solutions will be crucial to lowering emissions across the whole economy," said Viviane Reding, Commissioner for Information Society and Media. "There is a win-win situation in which ICT will promote the competitiveness of EU industry while leading the fight against climate change."
Without action, the EU's energy consumption is expected to rise by as much as 25% by 2012, which would increase EU emissions despite renewable energy targets. However, ICTs, if directed to sustainable uses, could increase energy efficiency in all areas of the economy while continuing to account for 40% of Europe’s productivity growth. Promoting a cutting-edge market for such energy-efficient technologies is also a potentially long-term source of competitiveness, growth and jobs. These are the conclusions of a new Communication adopted by the Commission today.
The Commission will encourage the ICT sector, which at present accounts for
2% of global CO2 emissions, to lead by example the drive towards
carbon neutrality. This will be done by reinforcing research, development and
deployment of components and systems, complemented by voluntary agreements, for
example on green procurement. The real gains from green ICT will come from
To show that green technology can bring "low carbon, high growth" to the whole economy, the Commission will focus on three energy intensive sectors:
The Commission is also launching a consultation and partnership process including the widest range of relevant stakeholders. In this process, cities are considered a priority as they consume over 75% of the world's energy and produce 80% of its CO2 emissions. Urban areas can also provide the right setting for testing, validating and deploying new ICT-based solutions.
EU research into ICT for energy efficiency has already produced results. Under the Sixth Framework Programme, HIPEAC and other research projects proved that computer performance can be decoupled from energy consumption (http://www.hipeac.net/), while OLLA delivered organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) twice as efficient as standard lamps: