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The largest semiconductor makers in the global technology supply chain are seeing emissions soar as their consumption of electricity, also derived from fossil fuels, is set to more than double by 2030, Greenpeace said in a report on Thursday.
The chip-making industry does not have meaningful climate targets aligned with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s recommended emissions cuts to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, Greenpeace said. None of the suppliers reviewed in Greepeace’s report have committed to 100% renewable energy across their operations by 2030.
Many semiconductor manufacturers operate in East Asia, where the majority of grids rely on fossil fuels, including coal. This makes the chip-making industry “a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions,” the environmental organization added.
As electricity consumption in the industry is set to surge this decade, emissions will also rise, according to Greenpeace.
Semiconductor manufacturing is projected to emit 86 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) globally by 2030, more than Portugal’s total emissions in 2021, the report showed. The sector is expected to consume 286 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity worldwide by 2030, higher than Australia’s total electricity consumption in 2021.
“Emissions from electronics manufacturing are soaring, but the companies responsible are hiding from view. Tech giants like Apple depend on TSMC, Samsung, and other suppliers to build critical components of their phones and laptops,” said Greenpeace East Asia Global Tech Project Lead Xueying Wu.
“Both Samsung and TSMC consume more electricity than some entire countries, but they have largely escaped scrutiny in the climate debate despite their reliance on coal and other fossil fuels. TSMC and Samsung need to target 100 percent renewable energy worldwide by 2030, just as their clients Apple and Microsoft have done.”
Greenpeace called on TSMC and Samsung to commit to achieving 100% renewable energy by 2030 as these chip-making giants “have the sway that is needed to accelerate renewable energy development in the region.”
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.