Ein a climate pact that gives hope,” wrote the FAZ when almost nine months ago 200 countries agreed on an ambitious program to achieve the 1.5 degree target in the Glasgow Pact. Only shortly before, in July 2021, the European Commission had presented the “Fit for 55” package: measures to achieve climate neutrality by 2050 and to reduce emissions by 55 percent by 2030.
Since then, our world has changed dramatically. As a result of the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine, we are facing completely new challenges in security and energy policy, which also have a direct impact on climate policy. How can we achieve our common climate goals under these changed framework conditions and at the same time strengthen our competitiveness in Germany and Europe? The Western world has recently impressively demonstrated that it wants to solve this task together. There is also an elementary lever to achieve our climate goals: technology.
We have an ambivalent relationship with her in this country. In many areas, Germany is the technological leader, in the Bloomberg Innovation Index it even ranks fourth among the 20 most innovative countries in the world, ahead of the USA and China. At the same time, however, we often and enthusiastically engage in discussions about the risks and dangers of new technologies.
In the Corona pandemic, we have all experienced the important role technology can play in overcoming a crisis. During this phase, digital technologies made many things possible again: working from home, virtual learning and teaching, social life despite keeping your distance and, last but not least, digitally supported retail. And that from one day to the next. Without digital technologies, up to four million workers would not have been able to work from home. According to a study by the consulting firm Deloitte, the German gross domestic product would then have collapsed not by 5 but by up to 22 percent.
Technical innovations also play a decisive role in combating climate change. The digital association Bitkom has found that digital technologies can contribute up to 41 percent to achieving the German climate target.
20 percent more efficient wind power
Of course, digital technologies also need energy. Data centers consume a total of about one percent of the electricity generated worldwide. However, Bitkom estimates that the CO2-The savings potential of digital technologies is five to six times higher than their own emissions. The demand for computing power in data centers increased by 550 percent between 2010 and 2018. However, their energy consumption in 2018 was only six percent higher than in 2010. Technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) have enormously increased the efficiency of energy use for cooling and operating the servers. At Google, for example, AI creates forecasts for energy consumption and distributes workloads in the server rooms in such a way that energy consumption has fallen by up to 30 percent.