A scientific study by Professor Lotfi Belkhir of the McMaster University Ontario found that by 2040 greenhouse gas emissions (GHGE) from the manufacture and operation of smartphones, laptops, tablets,data centres and communication networks (known as the ICT Sector
) could exceed 14% of the 2016 worldwide carbon emissions total and more than half of the transportation sector total.
shows that the carbon footprint of smartphones is expected to reach 50% of all other devices put together by 2020 (desktops=7%, Notebooks=6%, displays=7%) growing from 4% in 2010 to 11% in 2020 or in absolute values from 17 to 125 megatons of CO2 gas emissions per year
(Mt-CO2e/yr) , a 730 per cent growth
The study projects that there will be about 5.6 billion smartphones in use by 2030 and 8.7 billion by 2040 with 95% mobile phone ownership worldwide by 2040 .
The study warns that if this kind of growth in the overall ICT industry goes unchecked it may seriously undermine any efforts to curb climate change.
.."This unprecedented growth in mobile phone devices is equally bound to drive in part the continued growth in data centers and communications networks . Clearly, should this kind of growth in the overall ICT industry go unchecked, it may seriously undermine any efforts to curb climate change
The study suggests that companies which offer free smartphones to their employees must consider the impact of those perks on the environment and explore instead other means to finance the mobile communications of their employees without the need of a dedicated device with a very short lifetime. link to Study
In Ireland , a 2016 statista.com Survey of 1000 people aged 16 and over found that the Younger Generation under the age of 25
were the biggest users of smartphones
in Ireland consequently leaving behind a larger digital carbon footprint
. Of those surveyed , 97 percent under the age of 25 used a smartphone compared to just 51 percent of the older generation aged 55 years of age and older . Link to Survey
Meanwhile , A 2018 Mobile Consumer Survey by Deloitte of over 1,000 respondents aged 18-75 found that among 18-24-year-olds, 60% check their phones in the middle of the night . Overall, 40% of people look at their smartphones within five minutes of waking, and 76% do so within half an hour. 30% check their phone within five minutes of going to sleep. The research also reveals that 89% of people use their phone when spending time with family and friends, and 74% do so when in a restaurant with family and friends.