Brussels, 13 May 2008
[Graphic in PDF & Word format]
"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
efficient ICT solutions that impact the other 98% of global emissions.
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.
On 10 January 2007, the Commission adopted an energy and climate change package, endorsed both by the European Parliament and by EU leaders at the March 2007 European Council, targeting a 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to 1990 levels and 20% renewable energy use by 2020 (IP/07/29). On 23 January 2008, the Commission adopted a far-reaching package demonstrating that the agreed climate change targets are technologically and economically feasible and provide a unique business opportunity for thousands of European companies (IP/08/80).
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: