We’ve published a report from Brussels-based DIGITALEUROPE, on the topic of emissions reduction and a longer term goal of creating a global circular economy. DigitalEurope wants to see global CO2 emissions reduced by 20% by 2030 through a wise use of Information Technology (IT).

DigitalEurope has a larger, longer term goal for Europe, which it wants to turn into a “low-carbon circular economy,” again a technology-driven effort. It cites the European Green Deal and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs) in this attached seven-page report. The report cites several approaches, benefits, and specific pieces of EU legislation that can also be put to use in service of the organization’s goals.

We, as SmartNations Foundation, of course, fully support DigitalEurope’s efforts, goals, and approach. Our own research into emissions reduction has yielded what we call the SmartNations Emissions Reduction Challenge (ERC) Index. The Tau Institute, the research partner of SNF, has examined the current emissions levels of 142 countries (total emissions, emissions per capita, and emissions as a ratio to GDP), and integrated key, existing technology and socioeconomic factors to create an index that ranks the difficulty of each nation’s challenge.

Looking at the entire picture like this adds a real-world layer to meeting these difficult challenges. Countries with a high level of corruption and income disparity, for example, will generally have a far more difficult time getting to carbon neutrality by 2030 or carbon zero and beyond by 2050 than countries with cleaner governments. 

Countries with a political climates that don’t favor aggressive carbon-reduction programs — or, as in the case of the current United States policy —  don’t even believe that climate change truly exists — will also have a very difficult time.

Europe Has the Best Chance
Europe has the best chance of all the world’s regions, according to our research. Of the 39 countries we examined, there are 20 in our “green zone” — those nations facing the least onerous challenges. This group is led by Malta, Iceland, Switzerland, Latvia, and Denmark. Our next level, the “yellow zone,” embraces 13 countries, including the Netherlands, the UK, and France.

There are five countries in the next level, the “red zone.” They all face a difficult path to get to where they should be. Poland, Ukraine, Spain, Italy, and Germany comprise this group.

We also have a special “purple zone” for those countries facing the most dire challenges. Many of these countries arrived there by dint of their enormous levels of current emissions, even though they may have massive resources with which to address their problems if they have the societal will to do so. Russia falls into this category within Europe. But it’s worth noting that the world’s three biggest air polluters — China, the US, and India — all fall into this group as well.

We encourage DigitalEurope to keep pursuing its path and support any of this organization’s efforts. We encourage everyone with an interest in emissions reduction to stem global climate change to read this report.