The internet could be running on 1,000 times less energy that it presently uses within five years, say members of a consortium of IT and communications equipment and services suppliers.
"This is equivalent to 7.8GTn of CO2, or 15% of the total world emissions predicted by 2020," said Vicente San Miguel, CTO of Telefónica, one of the consortium members.
The consortium, called Green Touch,, has drawn political support from the UK, US, France, Portugal and South Korea.
It is led by Bell Labs, the R&D division of French-US telecommuncaitons equipment maker Alcatel-Lucent.
A thousand-fold reduction is roughly equivalent to being able to power the world's communications networks, including the internet, for three years using the same amount of energy that it currently takes to run them for a single day, Green Touch said.
The first meeting of the consortium will be in February to thrash out roles, responsibilities and deliverables for 2010.
UK energy secretary Ed Miliband said, "The ICT sector is perfectly placed to bring its innovative and technological forces to bear in the low-carbon transition as well as in curbing its own carbon footprint."
The Green Touch founding members are:
- China Mobile
- Portugal Telecom
Academic research labs
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Research Laboratory for Electronics (RLE)
- Stanford University's Wireless Systems Lab (WSL)
- University of Melbourne's Institute for a Broadband-Enabled Society (IBES)
Government and non-profit research institutions
- CEA-LETI Applied Research Institute for Microelectronics (Grenoble, France)
- Imec (Leuven, Belgium)
- French National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control (INRIA)
- Bell Labs
- Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology (SAIT)
- Freescale Semiconductor