server rackPhoto: Ronnie GarciaThere have been a number of studies analyzing the climate change impact of different parts of the global communications industry, from video games, to data centers, and so on. Now, the first comprehensive study of the IT, telecommunication, media, and entertainment sectors has been concluded. The result: It all adds up to three percent of global carbon emissions. That’s roughly the contribution of global aviation.

The study, done by KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden, breaks out the different sub-sectors’ contribution to warming, based on 2007 data.

Global telecommunications and IT made up 1.3 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, 620 megatons of CO2-equivalent. Media and entertainment was 1.7 percent of the global total, at 820 megatons CO2-equivalent.

As for how that breaks down into manufacture and usage, the report says that production of telecommunications technology is half that of operations. Using televisions as an example: Actually watching television, over the lifetime of the device, produces three times the emissions as manufacturing it.

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