Workshop: The climate crisis is a key digital rights issue

Policy discussions around the climate crisis and the green transition are happening in isolation from those on the digitization of society and guaranteeing fundamental human rights in a datafied society. Research has shown that these two discussions are deeply entangled. While technology is often promoted as the solution to the climate crisis, a growing evidence base shows that the extractivist nature, both for the materiality of internet infrastructures and its business model, have an increasingly negative impact on the climate and environment. To ensure that our future internet infrastructures center people and planet over profit and capital, policy makers, civil society, and industry need to understand this intersection and work towards sustainable solutions.

We would like to foster a conversation on how climate justice relates to digital rights and the digitization agenda of Europe. Panelists will offer different approaches to this intersection that will highlight alternatives to political and industry responses that favor business as usual through off-setting and tech-utopian dreams, towards changing the extractivist business model that could actually address the climate crisis. The discussion will be centered around finding pathways forward: What can we do to not make things a little less bad, but actually better.

Following an introduction by the panelists, we want to inspire engagement and discussion between participants and our speakers. In a world-cafe style setup you will have the chance to discuss two topics more in detail, get to know each other’s position, and explore new positions and framings. We propose four topics to choose from:

  • Issue areas that need to be put on the policy agenda
  • Key national and European governance space/debates that we can plug into
  • Framing(s) around the digital rights and a “green” internet
  • Allies and adversaries

We will summarize and post-process the discussion to build upon it in the future.


  • Jan Tobias Muehlberg, Professor at Université libre de Bruxelles, working on topics around security, privacy, and sustainability in ICT


  • Narmine Abou Bakari – Circular Tech Economy Campaigner Greens/EFA at the European Parliament, works on the environmental impacts of digital technologies
  • Harriet Kingaby – Co-founder of the Conscious Advertising Network and ACT Climate Labs Lead is working at the intersection of advertising, climate change and misinformation
  • Becky Kazansky – Research Lead at the Engine Room and Postdoc at the University of Amsterdam. Engine Room report ‘At the confluence of digital rights and climate & environmental justice’.
  • Notes: Merve Gülmez, PhD Researcher at KU Leuven/Ericsson
  • Session organiser: Fieke Jansen – Postdoc Critical Infrastructure Lab at the University of Amsterdam, working on environmental implications of internet infrastructures.