Ensuring That Our Digital Future Is a Sustainable One

This article was first published on Insights – Ripple
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The economic shutdown carries with it some surprising—and welcome—reverberations beyond just the stock market. Case in point: the resulting environmental impact. 

The world is bearing witness to massive reductions across nearly every energy sector imaginable. At the height of the pandemic-induced economic shutdown, countries under full lockdown experienced an average 25% decline in energy demand per week.

Non-renewable energy resources like coal and oil faced the biggest global declines as part of this shutdown. Coal demand fell almost 8% YoY in the first quarter of 2020, facing a continued challenge from cleaner renewable energy resources—the only energy sector where growth occurred during the shutdown. Meanwhile, with global road transport 50% below the 2019 average, oil demand fell nearly 5% YoY in Q1 2020.

And while electricity demand also decreased by around 20% during full lockdown, many countries across the world are reopening and instituting recovery plans and policies—many of which are digitally powered. Recent data shows that consumer and business adoption of advanced digital technologies leaped ahead by five years in the span of just eight weeks in full lockdown.

This rapid migration and accelerated adoption of digital technology is only expected to continue. Out of those using digital channels for the first time during lockdown, 75% say they intend to keep using them in the future. Consequently, businesses are relying on these technologies to service changing consumer needs and those of a more remote-based workforce as well.

The Energy Required to Fuel a Digital Future

Based on data from McKinsey’s report of countries already in economic recovery, energy consumption patterns are showing greater levels than those before the lockdown as advanced digital technologies become more commonplace.

This will undoubtedly lead to substantial, long-term increases in energy consumption if the right planning and investment isn’t put into place now ...

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