The relevance of information and communication technologies for environmental sustainability - A prospective simulation study

Lorenz A. Hilty, Peter Arnfalk, Lorenz Erdmann, James Goodman, Martin Lehmann, Patrick A. Waeger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

200 Citations (SciVal)

Abstract

Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) have relevant positive and negative impacts on environmental sustainability on various levels: First-order effects such as increasing electronic waste streams; second-order effects such as improved energy-efficiency of production; third-order effects such as a product-to-service shift in consumption or rebound effects in transport. In the simulation study described in this article, all known relevant effects on all three levels were modeled using a System Dynamics approach in combination with scenario techniques and expert consultations. The prospective study for the European Union with a time-horizon until 2020 revealed great potential for ICT-supported energy management and for a structural change towards a less material-intensive economy, but strong rebound effects in the transport sector whenever ICT applications lead to time or cost savings for transport. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1618-1629
JournalEnvironmental Modelling & Software
Volume21
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2006

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary

Keywords

  • structural change
  • system dynamics
  • and simulation
  • socio-economic modelling
  • information society
  • sustainable development
  • environmental impact
  • information technology
  • communication technology
  • material intensity
  • rebound effect
  • prospective technology assessment

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