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Environmental effects of information and communications technologies

Nature volume 479, pages 354358 (17 November 2011) | Download Citation

Abstract

The digital revolution affects the environment on several levels. Most directly, information and communications technology (ICT) has environmental impacts through the manufacturing, operation and disposal of devices and network equipment, but it also provides ways to mitigate energy use, for example through smart buildings and teleworking. At a broader system level, ICTs influence economic growth and bring about technological and societal change. Managing the direct impacts of ICTs is more complex than just producing efficient devices, owing to the energetically expensive manufacturing process, and the increasing proliferation of devices needs to be taken into account.

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Acknowledgements

This work was in supported in part by the US National Science Foundation via grant CBET-0731067 in the Environmental Sustainability program.

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Affiliations

  1. Golisano Institute of Sustainability, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, New York 14623, USA.

    • Eric Williams

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The author declares no competing financial interests.

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Correspondence to Eric Williams.

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https://doi.org/10.1038/nature10682

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