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Parliamentary question - E-001000/2020Parliamentary question

Carbon footprint of artificial intelligence (AI)

Question for written answer E-001000/2020
to the Commission
Rule 138
Eugen Jurzyca (ECR)

On 19 February 2020 the Commission published its digital package, which comprises three publications. They state that ICT today accounts for between 5% and 9% of global electricity consumption and 2% of CO2 emissions.

In its package, the Commission gives particular emphasis to the positive aspects of using AI and to the support we need to provide for its development. However, an evaluation of the potential negative impact of AI on climate or of its carbon footprint has been omitted from the publications.

The Commission assumes that the volume of data transferred and stored will continue to grow exponentially in the years to come. While AI can undoubtedly make operations more efficient and reduce the carbon footprint of households, the carbon footprint generated during the development, production and use of AI technology itself is mostly neglected.

Is the Commission in possession of a study that takes account of both the positive and negative impacts of the use of AI technologies on the environment?

Does the Commission plan to carry out a study that would set out detailed information on the impact of AI technology’s carbon footprint, including both the positive and negative impacts of the mass transition to the use of AI technology by consumers in the coming years?

Last updated: 25 September 2020
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