The impact of digital technology on the climate is five times more positive than the total digital footprint by 2030. CO2 emissions in Belgium could decrease by 10 to 12% by using digital technologies in the four most CO2-polluting branches of industry. That is the conclusion of a recent study by the technology federation Agoria.
Agoria organized the ‘Digital4Climate’ study in cooperation with the consultancy agency Accenture. The study analyzes the potential of 15 digital technology solutions for carbon reduction in the four most carbon-intensive sectors in Belgium: industry, construction, mobility/logistics, and the energy sector.
It’s the first Belgian study that offers scientific data about the potential of digital technology to reduce CO2 emissions in Belgium.
In 2019, CO2 emissions in Belgium were 116,5 megatons CO2. In 2030, these emissions will decrease by 10,4 to 13,3 megatons thanks to the integration of digital technologies in the four most CO2-intensive sectors. The figures of the study result from 15 digital solutions in the four most CO2-polluting sectors.
The industry is responsible for 29% of Belgian CO2 emissions. It could use solutions like robotizing, proactive maintenance, and intensified use of analyses and simulations. CO2 emission reduction would be 10 to 12,3%.
The construction sector has the largest CO2 footprint. It could reduce its emissions by 8,3 to 10,8% through smart building management systems (BMS) and building information modeling (BIM).
The mobility and logistics sector could emit 10,2 to 14,2% less by reducing the need for transport, increasing teleworking, introducing smart traffic systems, and investing in autonomous vessels on the waterways. Digitizing can increase the production of renewable energy and the capacity of the grid. Digitizing could be the ‘catalyst’ for the green energy transition.
Digital technology has the potential to increase the production of renewable energy by more than 7%. All in all, the energy sector could achieve an energy reduction of 12 to 14,5% by integrating digital technology.
“Thanks to digitizing and using smart technology we can integrate more renewable energy in our network and make it more stable,” said Minister Tinne Van der Straeten (Groen) during the presentation of the Agoria study on Tuesday. “Digitizing is ‘conditio sine qua non’ these days,” she concluded. “We have to work on energy independency and certainty.”
Agoria is convinced that digital technologies can partly be the answer to the climate challenge. The digital and green transition can strengthen each other, create sustainable growth, and contribute to the Belgian economy and social welfare.