The digital sector is today one of the most polluting: it represents 4% of greenhouse gas emissions each year, or one and a half times more than civil aviation.

In her recent book "Repairing the Future", Inès Leonarduzzi warns about the ecological impact of digital technology.


"Data centers are the factories of the 21st century."

In her recent book 

Repairing the Future

, published by Éditions de l'Observatoire, Inès Leonarduzzi provides a worrying overview of the ecological impact of digital technology.

Founder of the NGO "Digital for the planet", she aims, she says, to make new technologies "more responsible".

"This is one of the most polluting industries today. At a time when everything goes through the internet, you have to have it in mind," she warns at the microphone of Europe 1. Here are three figures to better understand digital pollution. 

4% of greenhouse gas emissions

The digital sector is "responsible for 4% of greenhouse gas emissions," says Inès Leonarduzzi.

That's one and a half times more than civil aviation.

Data centers, these huge data storage centers, could become more energy intensive in the coming years than all of humanity.

"Every piece of information that we look for on the internet uses a server and therefore data centers. It requires a lot of energy, generally fossil."

>> Find Your big evening newspaper in replay and podcast here

California data centers consume the water in 158,000 swimming pools per year

Hundreds of thousands of liters of water supply data centers each year.

In California alone, the equivalent of 158,000 Olympic-size swimming pools is poured into it.

Water is needed in particular to cool these large machines and prevent them from overheating.

"It is all the more deplorable that the next great crisis that the planet will face will be that of water. Millions of people are already struggling to access it, children are still dying of diarrhea for lack of safe water points around. of them."

1 photo posted = 3 light bulbs on for one hour 

The gesture is so simple that it is difficult to consider its real impact.

According to Inès Leonarduzzi, each photo posted on social networks consumes as much as three to four 20-watt light bulbs on for an hour.

A barely believable figure, which she nevertheless wishes to put into context.

"It should be remembered that the biggest digital pollution remains the manufacture of devices. A person who posts a selfie a day pollutes less than a person who changes devices every year." 

The materials used in the manufacture of smartphones are imported from all over the world.

And mining mines are causing more and more damage.

"In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, many children dig coltan mines because it is easier for them to slip into the two-foot shafts. In Bolivia, families are reduced to living for 15 days in surface mines to extract lithium. "