A new report from Greenpeace claims China’s ambitious goal of reaching net zero by 2060 is being put at risk by the burgeoning growth of digital infrastructure.

Last year China’s 5G network and data centres consumed almost the same amount of power as Beijing and Shenzhen combined, meaning carbon dioxide emissions will continue to rise even after emissions from traditional steel and cement industries have peaked in around 2025. By 2035 this could amount to 310 million tons a year – more than the total emissions of carbon dioxide by France.

Currently more than 60% of the electricity used by digital infrastructure comes from coal based electricity generation with only two major Chinese data center companies making a commitment to using 100% clean energy, Chinadata Group Holdings Ltd. and Shanghai AtHub Co..

Electric sources China

The Greenpeace report was co-authored by Ye Ruiqi who said “Without urgent action to increase clean energy use, the Internet sector’s contribution to China’s carbon footprint will continue to grow,”

“If Internet giants, including Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent, work to achieve 100% renewable energy by 2030, they would play a critical role in catalyzing China’s low-carbon transition.”

The report can be viewed here

Sustainability has become one of the hottest topics for global telecoms and leaders in the field will be recognised at this years World Communication Awards through The Sustainable Impact Award. To find out about submitting entries for this or other categories visit