Negligbly small. Most of our energy goes to: 1) transporting people and materials via trucks, cars, planes, ships, and other machinery, and 2) heating, cooling, lighting, and powering buildings: homes, offices, factories, shops, etc. I recharge my cell phone using an AC adapter for less than a couple hours a week. My refrigerator uses more energy than my cell phone. And my refrigerator use makes up less than 2% of my monthly electric bill. I’m guessing cell phones use a tiny fraction of 1% of the world’s energy.
Note that I’m just counting the cell phone usage itself: not the energy used by all the related activities in the industries that provide cell phones and services for cell phones. I wouldn’t even know how to begin to measure that.
While data on percentage of world energy use was difficult to find, here is some information about the various ways that cell phones use energy. Below is a link to the “Life Cycle of a Cell Phone” from the EPA. Also, Nokia has provided a breakdown of the average energy usage for cell phones produced by their company. In particular, their website states that “The total energy consumption for creating, using and recycling a typical Nokia mobile device is 220MJ and the total emissions are 26kg C02e. This equals to driving 167km in a typical family car.” Further information about Nokia’s plans for decreasing the energy consumption of their products can be found at their link below.
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