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Disruptive Digitalization for Decarbonization

Project description

Digitalisation as an enabler of decarbonisation

Digitalisation will fundamentally change all sectors of the European economy in the next decades. At the same time, the EU is committed to reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. These two transformation will undoubtedly affect each other, but the extent to which they will be mutually supporting is unknown. Most importantly, there is a danger of the digital transformation delaying progress towards a net-zero carbon economy. The EU-funded 2D4D project aims to ensure that the digital transformation will be an enabler for decarbonisation. The project will identify and measure the decarbonisation consequences of disruptive digitalisation technologies in three challenging sectors: additive manufacturing in industry, mobility-as-a-service in transportation, and AI in buildings. The project will produce distinctive data to examine the technical and socioeconomic potential of these technologies, enhance decarbonisation narratives and ensure that digital technology supports energy transition.


By 2040, all major sectors of the European economy will be deeply digitalized. By then, the EU aims at reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 60% with respect to 1990 levels. Digitalization will affect decarbonization efforts because of its impacts on energy demand, employment, competitiveness, trade patterns and its distributional, behavioural and ethical implications. Yet, the policy debates around these two transformations are largely disjoint.
The aim of the 2D4D project is ensure that the digital revolution acts as an enabler – and not as a barrier – for decarbonization. The project quantifies the decarbonization implications of three disruptive digitalization technologies in hard-to-decarbonize sectors: (1) Additive Manufacturing in industry, (2) Mobility-as-a-Service in transportation, and (3) Artificial Intelligence in buildings.
The first objective of 2D4D is to generate a one-of-a-kind data collection to investigate the technical and socio-economic dynamics of these technologies, and how they may affect decarbonization narratives and scenarios. This will be achieved through several data collection methods, including desk research, surveys and expert elicitations.
The second objective of 2D4D is to include digitalization dynamics in decarbonization narratives and pathways. On the one hand, this entails enhancing decarbonization narratives (specifically, the Shared Socio-economic Pathways) to describe digitalization dynamics. On the other hand, it requires improving the representation of sector-specific digitalization dynamics in Integrated Assessment Models, one of the main tools available to generate decarbonization pathways.
The third objective of 2D4D is to identify no-regret, robust policy portfolios. These will be designed to ensure that digitalization unfolds in an inclusive, climate-beneficial way, and that decarbonization policies capitalize on digital technologies to support the energy transition.


Net EU contribution
€ 717 005,00
Piazza mercato 15
25121 Brescia

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Nord-Ovest Lombardia Brescia
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Other funding
€ 0,00

Beneficiaries (2)