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From Tuesday, January 12, the Senate is looking into a bill to reduce digital carbon footprint in France. It’s urgent. Especially since the arrival of 5G and its promises of ten times faster speed worry the High Council for the Climate for whom “5G is likely to increase significantly” the carbon impact of the digital sector, while it is already heavy, recalls Patrick Chaize, LR senator from Ain and author of this bill.
“Today, digital technology accounts for 2% of our overall environmental footprint. If we do nothing, by 2040, we will go from 2 to 7%.”Patrick Chaize, LR senator from Ain
“When we know that air traffic is currently at 4.7% (before the Covid), can you imagine that in 2040 digital technology weighs on our environmental footprint 7% ?! That would be huge and unacceptable”, he says.
One of the important points of the text defended by Patrick Chaize is the fight against the programmed obsolence of digital terminals, in order to extend the life of your mobile phone for example. One measure among others thus consists in reducing from 2 to 5 years the minimum period during which the consumer can receive the updates necessary for the proper functioning of the device.
But consumers and users can also limit their carbon footprint when they use their digital devices. This is what explains Lise Breteau, lawyer specializing in new technologies and member of the Green It collective, which campaigns to reduce digital pollution. She greets us at home, in front of her laptop, the only one in the house. “I have a computer and a smartphone, she specifies. I could have a stationary computer, I could have a smartwatch, maybe even a hair dryer or a smart kettle, but I made the choice to stay sober and stick my gear to my real needs. ”
“80% of the environmental impacts of digital technology come from the manufacture of equipment.”Lise Breteau, member of the Green It collective
And to list some good practices to reduce this impact, starting with the good use of email: “Avoid sending four mails in a row to the same person, try to concentrate them in one, try to put hyperlinks rather than attachments and not to copy the whole Earth when sending an email, what we all tend to do, especially at the office “, advises Lise Breteau, who recalls that “The main impact of the mail, very often it will be its transport, much more than its storage.”
Another gesture to reduce your digital footprint at home is not to leave your devices on standby. “My box is connected to a power strip with a switch, which allows it to be turned off at night when I go to bed, Explain Lise Breteau. The idea is not to leave it on standby all night. You can make an analogy with a faucet that you let run all night. ”
Another target of this bill: “data centers”, in French, data centers. The text sets goals over several years to limit the environmental footprint of these energy-hungry centers that emit heat. If the targets are not met, no tax benefit.
The French company OVHcloud, with 31 data centers around the world, is one of the European leaders in the sector. François Stérin, industrial director, claims to have taken the lead. “Since 2003, we have been using water cooling for our servers, which really allows us to reduce our bill and also our electricity consumption. We use water in a closed circuit, that is to say that we can use it several times and we actually consume very little. To give you an idea, to cool a server for ten hours, we use the equivalent of a glass of water, he explains. The stakes are there. If we really want to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, we must not wait 5 or 10 years, we must go now. ”
The bill presented to the Senate on Tuesday is based, among other things, on a figure: if nothing is done, thehe energy consumption of data centers and networks is expected to increase by 75% by 2040.