Digitalisation to cut CO2 emissions by 10% by 2030

Digitalisation to cut CO2 emissions by 10% by 2030
Belgium's highly polluting industrial sector accounts for 29% of total CO2 emissions. Credit: Pexels

The increased digitalisation of four key sectors of Belgium's economy (industry, construction, energy, mobility/logistics) will reduce the country's CO2 emissions by at least 10% by 2030, according to the “Digital4Climate” study published by Belgian industrial federation Agoria.

Digital technologies will offset by at least five times their carbon footprint by 2030, Agoria estimates. This will equate to CO2 savings of between 10.4 and 13.3 megatons – roughly 10% of total Belgian emissions.

This is good news for Belgium’s climate goals. As part of the European Green’s Deals “Fit for 55” package, Belgium must slash its CO2 emissions to 87 megatons. Agoria forecasts that the net benefit of digital technologies could account for nearly 30% of reductions towards this target.

Increased digitalisation is expected to make growing industries, especially in emerging technologies and sectors, much greener. Efficiency savings and digital streamlining should slash emissions from energy-hungry networks and data centres by 48%.

The digitalisation of industries should bring longer-term environmental benefits. Credit: Canva

Belgium has a large and often highly polluting industrial sector, especially in sectors that concern chemical production, metallurgy, and cement. Together, they account for roughly 29% of Belgium’s total CO2 emissions.

Agoria singles this sector out as the primary target for improved digitalisation and streamlining. Artificial Intelligence (AI), industrial Internet of Things (IOT), and simulation would reduce CO2 emissions by 3.4-4.2 megatons – 10-12.3% of the sector's total emissions.

Advanced data analytics and automation allow manufacturers to regulate their use of power and increase energy-efficiency and cost-efficiency on a large scale.

Massive potential

Other sectors can benefit too. Construction, which accounts for 8.3 – 10.8% of Belgium’s total emissions, can profit from streamlining software. The energy sector can achieve carbon reductions of up to 14.5%, and the mobility and logistics sector can also reduce emissions by up to 14.2%.

The “Digital4Climate” proposals set out ambitious goals for the entire Belgian economy. The industrial federation has stated that it is willing to cooperate with Belgian companies and the government to work towards Belgium’s climate objectives.

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“Businesses, governments and citizens play an important role in the roll-out of digital technologies for the benefit of the climate,” Agoria states.

“Companies that embrace the digital and green transition are gaining positive ‘sustainability points’ from their customers, and thus a competitive advantage.”

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