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Digital Technology: Carbon Emissions

Question for Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

UIN 128961, tabled on 14 December 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the Royal Society's report entitled, Digital Technology and the Planet, published on 3 December 2020, what plans he has to ensure that tech firms (a) publicly share emissions data and (b) maximise use of renewable energy.

Answered on

17 December 2020

I note and welcome the valuable insights in the Royal Society’s report, and are considering its recommendations.

Many tech companies have ambitious decarbonisation pledges, are the world’s largest investors in renewable energy, and have allocated significant resources to research and development of climate solutions. They have set ambitious net zero commitments and many have adopted robust action plans to fulfil them.

In the run-up to COP26, we are preparing to engage the entire UK tech sector, including big tech, on the potential for tech to contribute to tackling climate change. The UK has a thriving cleantech startup scene, and London is the fastest growing global hub for ‘impact tech’ - companies that develop tech solutions addressing one or more of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

In my Department’s work with the tech sector, reducing emissions from the digital and tech sectors is a high priority, and we are looking to build on the work of a number of tech companies already innovating in this space.

I welcome the Royal Society’s recommendations and look forward to exploring whether there is more that the UK tech sector can do to address this extremely important challenge.

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