Europe leads the way towards decarbonizing the internet

Digital technologies have changed our daily life, our way of working and doing business, and the way people travel and communicate. It is a transformation that is as fundamental as the industrial revolution in the 18th century.

In 2019, European Commission President von der Leyen stressed the need for Europe to lead the transition to a healthy planet and a new digital world. The ideas materialized in the European Green Deal. The green and the digital transformation have to go hand-in-hand towards sustainable solutions for a resource-efficient, circular and climate-neutral economy.

Early 2020 -before COVID-19- the European Commission decided that it wants data centers and the telecom industry to become carbon neutral by the year 2030. 

In the summer of 2020 a gigantic recovery plan was agreed upon in Europe. To help repair the economic and social damage caused by the corona pandemic, the European Commission, the European Parliament and EU leaders agreed on the plan, that will lead the way out of the crisis and towards a sustainable Europe. A total of €1.8 trillion will help rebuild a post-COVID-19 Europe. It will be a greener, more digital and more resilient Europe. The aim for technological European sovereignty is clearly part of the plan. It creates the right conditions for Europe to develop and deploy its own key capacities, reducing dependency on other parts of the globe for the most crucial technologies.

In December 2020, all 27 European national leaders agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions with at least 55% by 2030. The previous goal was a reduction with 40%, compared to the emissions in the year of reference 1990, but all leaders agreed that the reduction needed to be more ambitious. These ambitions create business risks, as well as opportunities in Europe, to become the sustainability leader of the world.

After the political agreement on the European Green Deal, an important milestone was reached in Januay 2021 during the KickStart Europe 2021 event in Amsterdam. The Climate Neutral Data Centre Pact was signed by dozens of important players in the data centre and telco industry. Data centre operators and trade associations committed to the European Green Deal, willing to achieve a climate neutral Europe by 2050. The data centre operators and trade associations agreed to make data centres climate neutral by 2030. Apart from the European political agreements, this is a major breakthrough in the data centre and telco industry itself. 

Ethernetics welcomes this initiative of self-regulation. In signing the pact, the entire data centre and telco industry commits itself to accelerate the necessary transition towards a carbon neutral world. 

Glad to see big steps towards decarbonization.

Gert De Spiegeleer

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