Committed to connecting the world

Girls in ICT

Measuring the Emissions and Energy Footprint of the ICT Sector: Implications for Climate Action

Enabling more people to get online and to use the Internet productively ​​can help deliver massive development payoffs, including by helping communities become more resilient to climate change through improved access to information and service delivery. Despite the sector's remarkable growth, 2.6 billion ​​​people remain offline. In addition, the sector's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions rival those of the aviation industry, and its energy requirements often impose pressure on resources. Therefore, the pressing challenge lies in closing the connectivity gap and leveraging ICTs for climate action in an environmentally sustainable manner.

In most countries, data collection and analysis of the ICT sector's GHG emissions and energy consumption is limited. As a result, evaluating its climate impact relies heavily on estimations, which are often available only at a global scale. In the absence of this information, policy makers will encounter challenges in making well-informed decisions about reducing ICT sector emissions and managing energy resources.

This joint report by the International Telecommunication Union and the World Bank, which is contributing to the Green Digital Action at COP28 and beyond, aims to address this data gap. It provides comprehensive GHG emissions and energy consumption data for the ICT sector, particularly for telecommunications and data centers. The report compiles emissions data at a country level from publicly accessible sources within the thirty most emitting countries' telecommunications operators. Its goal ​is to unravel the emissions and energy usage patterns within the sector while exploring policy implications.​

Sources of ICT sector emissions