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Historical perspective

Information Society and


Sustainable Consumption The combustion engine and
Eric Williams
electricity not only shaped
United Nations University economy and society, but
also defined the
1st International Workshop:
Life cycle approaches to environmental challenges
Sustainable Consumption
facing the modern world.
19-20 March 2003
Tokyo, Japan

Project on
IT and environment

• Started in 2001
The Information Technology • Consortium: UNU, Tokyo University
revolution should also of Science, InterRisk Research &
Consulting Inc., Carnegie Mellon, UC
profound implications for – Berkeley
• Funding: Japan Foundation - Center
environmental issues for Global Partnership
• Activities: research, dissemination
(symposia, multimedia website)

1
The United Nations University How does IT affect
(UNU) environmental issues?
• Think-tank for the UN 1. Impacts of a new sector:
system (not degree
production, use and disposal of
granting university)
IT hardware
• UNU Centre in Tokyo
• Network of Research and
2. Driver of Eco-efficiency (efficient
Training centers around products/services, management,
the world. dematerialization, enhanced
• Overall topics: R&D)
– Environment and Sustainable
Development
3. Driver of economic growth
– Peace and Governance (effective income increases)

Review of selected results The Macro microchip 1


Context: IT hardware production has
1. LCA of microchip grown explosively in recent decades,
e.g. average annual growth of global
2. End-of-life management of semiconductor industry is 16% per year
computers: resell, upgrade, What are the environmental implications
recycle of this new industry? High-tech is often
perceived to be low impact.
3. Macro-energy savings from
telecommuting Life cycle assessment of energy,
chemicals and water use in production
of a 32MB DRAM chip.

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From quartz to wafers 1
Stage Elect energy Silicon Data sources
input/kg silicon Yield

Quartz + carbon → 13 kWh 90% Harben, 99; Dosaj, 97


silicon Jackson, 96
Silicon → 50 kWh 90% Takegoshi, 94;
trichlorosilane O’Mara et al, 90
Trichlorosilane → 250 kWh 42% Tsuo et.al, 98; O’Mara,
polysilicon 90;Takegoshi, 94
Polysilicon → 250 kWh 50% Takegoshi, 94
single crystal ingot
Single crystal ingot → 240 kWh 56% Takegoshi, 94;
silicon wafer Lammers and Hara, 96
Process chain to 2,130 kWh 9.5%
produce wafer

Production of silicon wafers requires around 160 times


The energy required for “industrial” grade silicon

Fossil fuel, chemical, and


water use 1 Entropy and energy use 1

For 1 memory chip, lower bounds are: Chip manufacture is extremely energy and
• Fossil fuels consumed in production = 1,200 chemicals intensive. Fossil fuels to make
grams one chip is 600 times the weight of the
• Fossil fuels consumed in use = 440 grams chip. For automobile, figure is 1~2,
• Chemicals “destructively” consumed = 72 grams aluminum can 4-5.
• Water use is 36,000 grams per chip.

Why? Chip is extremely organized both at


Total fossil fuel and chemical use to produce 2 gram
memory chip ≥ 1.7 kg
microscopic and mesoscopic scales.
Reduction of entropy requires energy.

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End-of-life computers: 2 End-of-life computers: 2
Resell, Upgrade, Recycle Resell, Upgrade, Recycle
Energy use in different phases of life cycle of
Rapid growth and rate of obsolescence gives desktop computer (home user)
rise to problem of what to do with end-of-life
electronics. Various national and regional Life cycle stage Notation Value
legislation: e.g. WEEE in EU, recycling law in
Japan Production EM 5600 MJ
Use (2 year 1st lifespan) EUse 910 MJ
Use (3 year 1st lifespan) EUse 1360 MJ
Evaluate waste management wisdom (3R’s) for
computers: 2nd lifespan 1-2 years
• Resell – used computer to secondary users Upgrade EUp
• Upgrade – replace processor, memory, hard disc (energy to make processor, 1750 MJ
• Recycle – disassemble computer, recover materials memory, hard disc)
(metals, glass, plastic) ER -280 MJ
Recycle (theoretical limit.
-1360 MJ)

Results 2 Telecommuting 3
LCE = E M − r1 E M − r 2 (E M − E Up ) + E use + E L − r 3 (E L − E R )

Life cycle e ne rgy sav ings from 10% imple me ntation • Telecommuting decreases energy
10.0% use in transport and commercial
8.0% building sectors, increases
6.0% residential consumption.
4.0%
• In Japan, 4-day telecommuting for
2.0%
mobile sales, service and specialty
0.0%
Res ell Upgrade Recycle
workers could save 1.0% of
national energy use (source:
Case: desktop computer, home use, base case Williams 03).
Source: Williams and Sasaki (2003)

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Growth and the
Other results
environment
1. Energy of Sales/distribution for E- • If technology keeps getting so
commerce for books (Matthews and
Hendrickson (US); Williams and much better, why do global
Tagami (Japan)) greenhouse emissions
2. Energy consumption of wireless vs. continue to rise?
wired networks (Matthews et. al)
• Growth (income, population)
3. Analysis of effects of IT investments
on economic structure and energy continues to be faster than
use (Mori and Yoda) efficiency improvements: the
consumption problem

Income and embodied energy IT and


of consumption sustainable consumption
Estimates of total energy from combining economic input-output analysis
and consumption expenditure surveys (US, 97 IO tables) 1. Shifts in transport and building
Total energy - Income energy use due to adoption of
900000 digital lifestyles
800000

700000 y = 5.4313x + 231644 2. Effects of knowledge goods on


2
R = 0.9597
the embodied energy of a typical
Total energy (MJ)

600000

500000

400000
basket of consumer products
300000
3. Consumption rebound effects
200000

100000
driven by IT-stimulated economic
0
US$0 US$20,000 US$40,000 US$60,000 US$80,000 US$100,000 US$120,000
growth/price reductions
Income ($)

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IT, consumption and Preliminary result:
economic growth 3 Rebound Effect and 3
e-commerce
• IT contributes to growth both
directly (IT sectors) and • E-commerce vendors can often offer
lower prices (less overhead)
indirectly (application of IT)
• Books are on average $1.35 cheaper
• For US in late 90’s,IT on the Internet (in the US), thus e-
hardware, software, services commerce purchase of one book
accounted to 33% of growth. induces 7.3 MJ of embodied energy
use.
• 10$ increase in income implies • Total energy for sales/distribution of
10 kg additional fossil fuel books in Japan is around 5-6 MJ/book
consumption. • Price rebound effect is significant.

Conclusion: Social response


Thank you!

More information:
• Analysis must eventually lead to www.it-environment.org
practical recommendations for gov.
policy, firm strategies, civil action
• Various possible mechanisms:
– Consumption taxes (how big?)
– Rationing (e.g. emission permits)
– Incentives to implement telework, etc.
– R&D support for dematerialization
technologies (e.g. e-paper)

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Evolving consumer
expenditures in Japan
Estimates of total energy from combining economic input-output analysis and consumption expenditure surveys
(US, 97 tables)

12%

10%

Eating out
Utilities
Share of income spent

8%
Furnishings
Clothes
Health, insurance
6% Transport
Education
Enablers
4% Light goods
Entertainment
Reading
Services
2% Other

0%
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