Start of Project 12/2018
End of Project 11/2021

Digitization is leading to significant changes in our living and working environments. New and increasingly powerful information and communication technologies (ICT) are influencing consumption, work and production processes. The project addresses the question of what contribution the digitization of the economy and society can make to climate protection and green growth. In particular, the role of demand effects and production shifting in the use of ICT will be investigated.

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Update on the project´s process

ICT has created and continues to create numerous opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However, the development of this potential is not self-dynamic. Two main challenges have been identified that counteract a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions through digitization. First, digitization often enables new services and behaviors, creating new demand and thus increasing energy and resource requirements. Secondly, the existence of an alternative climate-friendly digital service offering is usually not sufficient to displace old, climate-damaging processes and behaviors on a broad front virtually under its own steam. In this case, an external incentive is needed to abandon old, unsustainable processes and behaviors in favor of new, digital and efficient alternatives.

Due to travel restrictions, video­conferencing spread rapidly and will have a strong impact on business travel activity in the medium term. In a survey of 500 people, the expected distance traveled for business trips after the end of the pandemic was given by 390 respondents as an average of 1,038 km. There was a significant drop from 16% to 9% in the number of respondents stating that they travel between 1,000 km and 5,000 km per month. For distances between 500 km and 1,000 km, the proportion also declined from 17% to 9%.  Distances of over 5,000 km per month were previously traveled by 5% of respondents, but in the future this will be only 4%.  The distance traveled decreases considerably for public transport/train, airplane and car; for bicycling and walking, it remains approximately the same at a low level. The modal split of transport performance is shifting toward avoided transport. 

Flagship Paper

Axenbeck, Janna; Niebel, Thomas (2021):  Climate Protection Potentials of Digitalized Production Processes: Microeconometric Evidence? 9th Mannheim Conference on Energy and the Environment am 20. - 21. May 2021.

Hintemann, R. (2021). Rechenzentren 2020. Cloud Computing profitiert von der Krise. Energiebedarf der Rechenzentren steigt trotz Corona weiter an. Berlin: Borderstep Institut.

Clausen, J. & Schramm, S. (2021). Klimaschutzpotenziale der Nutzung von Videokonferenzen und Homeoffice. Ergebnisse einer repräsentativen Befragung von Geschäftsreisenden. CliDiTrans Werkstattbericht. Berlin: Borderstep Institut.

Clausen, J. & Schramm, S. (2021). Climate protection potentials of the use of video conferences and when working from home. Results of a representative survey of business travellers. CliDiTrans Workshop Report. Berlin: Borderstep Institute.