According to a new McKinsey & Co. analysis, the energy required to power all the world’s computers, data storage and communications networks is expected to double by 2020, Worldwatch Institute reports.
The report predicts that China and the world’s emerging economies are expected to increase their IT emissions 9 percent annually in the future. By 2020 IT could be responsible for 1.54 gigatons of GHG, or 3 percent of global emissions. The reports says if the calculations are accurate, IT’s carbon footprint would be comparable to that from aviation.
Greater Internet use in China and India, where coal-fired power plants generate most of the countries’ energy, are also likely to lead to rising emissions. Last year, China accounted for 23 percent of global emissions related to information technology, surpassing North America to become the world leader in both overall GHG emissions and emissions attributed to IT. A recent study predicts that China’s GHG emissions could double by 2030.
According to the McKinsey report, the world’s 30.3 million servers and other IT systems now account for about 2 percent of global GHG emissions.
Experts have offered tips on how to cut energy bills while increasing data center’s cooling reliability and stability. The U.S Department of Energy and the EPA also recently released “Energy Efficiency in Data Centers: Recommendations for Government-Industry Coordination.” However, Kenneth Brill, executive director of the Uptime Institute says the government’s report on data center efficiency “misses the root cause.”