Urgent Need for Decarbonization in Semiconductor Manufacturing

Over the past two decades, the semiconductor industry has grown at least twice as fast as the broader economy. This accelerated growth, however, has come with environmental consequences. Carbon emissions of the top semiconductor manufacturing companies have been increasing year-over-year without signs of slowing down, unlike other comparable energy-intensive industries (e.g., automobile, oil & gas) whose carbon emissions are now trending downwards.

This trend has two major drivers. First, the industry has not switched to renewable energy in a substantial manner, despite electricity being one of the main emissions sources of semiconductor manufacturing. The second driver is node advances. As the industry continues its march towards increasingly advanced process nodes, each newer node is increasingly energy intensive and GHG intensive. There is a clear need for a greater sense of urgency to change the trajectory of emissions curve in semiconductor manufacturing.