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Study shows increased GHG emissions from electronics

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The researchers evaluated 1,003 life cycle reports from various manufacturers to determine the amount of carbon dioxide emissions created over the life of the products. | Maxx-Studio/Shutterstock

To help reduce growing greenhouse gas emissions from electronics, researchers suggest extending the lifespan of devices.

Researchers at the University of California, Irvine found that between 2014 and 2020, greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere from electronic devices and their associated electronic waste increased by 53%. This equates to 580 tonnes of carbon dioxide emitted in 2020.

“They (the researchers) estimate that without regulation or a legal framework to extend the useful life of information and communication technology devices, approximately 852 million metric tons of CO2 compounds will be emitted each year from sources. of e-waste by 2030,” said a Press release declared.

The estimate assessed 1,003 life cycle reports from various manufacturers to determine the amount of carbon dioxide emissions created during the lifetime of the products, including manufacturing, transportation, use and storage. ‘elimination.

Flat-panel televisions had the highest emissions, accounting for approximately 41% of total emissions over the study period, followed by laptops and tablets, flat-panel computer monitors, desktop computers, mobile phones, computer accessories, printers and game consoles, press release noted.

A scenario model estimated that between 19 and 28 million metric tons of electronic waste could have been avoided with a 50% to 100% increase in the useful life of devices between 2015 and 2020.

Co-author Oladele Ogunseitan, professor of population health and disease prevention with UCI’s public health programme, said that “in addition to mitigating climate change, a reduction in e-waste would discourage child labor in mining operations and reduce toxic impacts on the health of workers engaged in waste management.

Narendra Singh, co-author and sustainability specialist at the British Geological Survey, noted in the press release that there is an opportunity “to develop international consensus on a legal framework to support eco-design and the source, the repair, the renovation and the reuse.”

“These strategies can be critical to climate neutrality efforts for the electronics industry, which is currently among the top eight sectors accounting for over 50% of the global carbon footprint,” Singh said.

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