The entire world knows that we are marching towards the brink of destruction while we enjoy our comfortable lives and fancy gadgets. But do you know that the end could be much nearer than we thought?
A recent study has confirmed that the massive amount of carbon footprint released due to smartphones could kill our planet at an alarming rate.
This research, conducted by scholars at McMaster University, was published in the Journal of Cleaner Production. They analyzed the carbon impact of the entire Information and Communication Industry (ICT) from 2010 to 2020, including PCs, laptops, monitors, smartphones, and servers.
The results of this study were quite troublesome. In the year 2007, ICT accounted for only 1% of the total carbon footprint. Now, this figure has already tripled and is rapidly increasing, estimated to surpass 14% by 2040 — that’s half of the carbon impact made by entire transportation industry across the world!
A major reason behind this is the mining of rare minerals that are required in the manufacturing a new smartphone. It represents about 85% – 95% of the phone’s total CO2 emissions in its average life cycle of two years.
What this means is that purchasing one new smartphone consumes as much energy as recharging and operating the old one for ten years. So the next time you think of dumping your old phone for a fancier one, perhaps you could reconsider.
Another noteworthy finding was that smartphones with a larger screen size tend to leave behind a more carbon footprint than their smaller counterparts. In fact, Apple has publicly revealed that making an iPhone 7 Plus generates approximately 10% more CO2 than the iPhone 6s.
Adding further to our concerns, researchers have predicted that the future does not look good with the onslaught of Internet of Things, bombarding our lives with more devices that hit the cloud for data.
“Unless the supporting infrastructure moves quickly to 100% renewable power, the emergence of IoT could potentially dwarf the contribution of all the other traditional computing devices, and dramatically increase the overall global emissions well beyond the projections of this study.”
It is true that curbing tech carbon footprint is beyond one individual or company’s ability, but we can make a considerable impact by sticking to our old phones for one more year and reducing our own carbon footprint.