How can Artificial Intelligence help fight climate change? | Experts’ Opinions

ByCatalina Russu

How can Artificial Intelligence help fight climate change? | Experts’ Opinions

Artificial Intelligence (AI) could become a game-changer in the fight against climate change. Distilling raw data into actionable information, improving meteorological predictions, accelerating scientific modelling and discoveries are just a few of AI’s capabilities to accelerate climate action. We asked several international experts about the opportunities that AI has to address the changing climate. Check out their opinions below.

Key Takeaways:

  • AI is a technology that has the potential to assess, predict, and mitigate the risk of climate change with efficient use of data, learning algorithms, and sensing devices.
  • AI can both help and harm the environment. While companies use AI to increase factory efficiency and lower energy costs, developing AI demands a lot of energy.
  • Boston Consulting Group’s research estimates that by 2030, AI could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 5% to 10% globally which would translate to 2.6 to 5.3 fewer gigatons.

DevelopmentAid: How can AI fight climate change?

Angella Ndaka, PhD Fellow, Centre for Sustainability University of Otago, New Zealand

“AI has gained global recognition, with many powerful economic, state and technology actors promoting it as ‘the solution’ to major global problems like climate change. While these claims are valid given the enormous contribution made by green AI, an emerging body of research highlights the high environmental costs related to AI technology. For instance, the carbon-intensive nature of training AI systems, large water consumption by AI data centres, the dependency of augmenting technologies like autonomous systems on non-renewable mineral resources, and waste produced in their design, use and disposal phases. While AI technologies are referred to as ‘green’ and may help in addressing climate change problems, their net impact may not be positive unless the environmental costs associated with the design and adoption are addressed. Critical sociological interventions are therefore relevant to ensure that AI technologies do not (re)produce the very social and environmental problems they are being designed to solve. Of importance is addressing the large carbon footprint and large water consumption associated with training AI and running data centres respectively and ensuring a whole life cycle analysis of supporting technologies. Greenwashing AI is not going to solve climate change problems, it will just compound them.”

Oswald Bomani, environment expert

“Scientists and engineers use Al to fight climate change through the development of new technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help countries to protect the ozone layer and these technologies can be applied in the following sectors.

  • Transportation: We understand planes, trains, automobiles, and ships that use fossil fuels contribute a lot to adding greenhouse gas to our planet, but AI might help. AI-enabled vehicles can identify the shortest route hence saving fuel consumption.
  • Weather prediction: Human beings are not 100% perfect but through AI, scientists can identify weather changes, rainfalls, flood prediction, and forest fires with very high accuracy, so through this we can minimize the risks and people can be well prepared for any hazard.

Smart agriculture and urban planning cannot be left behind. AI water quality for agriculture can be well managed; also, water leaks and fertilizer management can be addressed. AI and machine learning are the future for our planet’s wellness.”

Dr. Khusen Gafforov,  Water Resources Specialist

“To focus on the real challenges that humanity faces today, and to address these challenges arising from increasing climate variability and growing demand in many sectors, including economic, environmental, water, energy production, urban water supply and the environment, AI is able to do tasks that previously only humans could perform. It has gained real popularity in the context of increasing data volume, improving algorithms, optimizing computational power and data storage facilities in analysing any data including climate change and assessing its impact and prevention. The development of artificial intelligence technologies will make a real difference, not only in the study of climate change and its prevention, or in the protection of ecology and the environment, but in all areas of the economy, including healthcare, at a time when the whole world today is faced with various diseases and this is ultimately related to climate change.”

See also: Post Webinar Release | The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Solving Current Development Challenges: Opportunities and Risks

Check out more than 650 job opportunities in the Environment sector here.