AI: Humanity’s ultimate playmaker against climate challenges. Discover why.

Key Points:

  • Proven applications of artificial intelligence (AI) scale up could mitigate 5 to 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, highlighting AI as a potential solution to climate change.
  • At COP28, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change announced the AI Innovation Grand Challenge to support the development of AI-powered climate action solutions in developing countries.
  • Policies enabling AI innovation, adoption for climate-positive applications, and acceleration of high-potential use cases can play critical roles in climate action.

The world needs to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 to meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement. However, based on current trends, emissions are projected to increase by 10% over the next eight years, which could worsen climate-related issues such as drought, flooding, and extreme heat.

In order to tackle this problem, accelerating all forms of climate action is crucial and one promising avenue is the application of AI. Research suggests that if we can scale up current applications of AI in the right way, it could help to reduce 5 to 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, which would be equivalent to the total annual emissions of the European Union.

The importance of AI in combating climate change was highlighted at COP28, where the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change launched the AI Innovation Grand Challenge. This initiative aims to identify and support the development of AI-powered solutions for climate action, particularly in developing countries.

To effectively utilize AI for climate action, policymakers must implement certain critical policies. Firstly, creating policies that encourage AI innovation and adoption for climate-positive applications is essential. This would involve establishing data sharing frameworks, investing in research, providing affordable access to technology, and promoting education initiatives.

The second policy priority involves prioritizing high-potential AI use cases and embedding efficiency requirements in industrial regulation. AI can help optimize existing processes and overhaul legacy infrastructure in high-emission sectors like aviation, manufacturing, electricity production, and construction.

Lastly, ensuring that the computing resources for AI advances are powered by carbon-free energy can contribute to making AI a crucial tool in the fight against climate change. Several countries are already using AI for climate action – Germany is using AI to help data centers purchase renewable energy, Singapore is using AI to predict floods and test flood-resilient infrastructure, while the Philippines is advocating AI for climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction.

Securing our future against the devastating effects of climate change may depend on smart policy decisions that harness the potential of AI.