The threat of global warming grows as the years pass us by. It is a ticking clock and our time is just about to run out. If we fail to slow down climate change at this point, the world we live in will face an immeasurable crisis far greater than the COVID-19 pandemic.
Businesses and industries, governments, and individuals alike need to pay more attention to it and subsequently take action into their hands. As we look into solutions to reduce carbon emissions, maybe it’s high time we employ the help of artificial intelligence (AI).
According to a study by PricewaterhouseCoopers UK and Microsoft, there is a huge possibility that the application of AI levers can reduce worldwide greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by up to 4% by the year 2030. This reduction in carbon emissions is equivalent to 2.4 gigatons.
AI enables our future systems to be more efficient and productive, benefiting our economy and nature. Not only is our environment benefiting from the use of AI, but the same can also apply to humanity as AI could create 38.2 million net new jobs across the global economy.
With artificial intelligence, problems affected by climate change can be detected and solved in a much shorter time frame than we humans can only desire. Using AI could reduce carbon emissions as it can aid us in uncovering patterns that we might be missing out on by boosting efforts on analyzing data. These technologies can also recommend the appropriate actions we can then take.
How Can AI Help?
By 2030, AI is expected to assist various organizations and industries from retail to automotive to consumer products according to Capgemini Research Institute modeling. With this in mind, here are just a few ways artificial intelligence can help us in improving our climate change strategy:
Create Tools For Monitoring, Predicting, and Reducing Emissions
With AI-powered data engineering, companies can automatically oversee and keep a record of emissions throughout their carbon footprint. They can collect data from operational activities such as IT equipment and corporate travel as well as every part of their value chain, which includes materials and components suppliers, transporters, and the downstream users of their products.
By layering intelligence onto the data that has been gathered from these sources, AI can generate approximations of any missing data and evaluate the level of certainty of the results. In terms of forecasting future emissions across a company’s carbon footprint, predictive AI can come into the picture. This kind of technology can then place, modify, and accomplish more accurate reduction targets.
With the detailed insights collected into every aspect of the value chain, prescriptive AI and optimization can then improve the efficiency of a company’s production, transportation, and other sectors to reduce carbon emission and even potentially cut costs.
Make Transportation More Efficient
Unsurprisingly, the transportation sector is responsible for a quarter of global CO2 emissions. Over the past few years, AI has been trying to curb this by powering autonomous vehicles including shared cars and smart transportation systems in some cities around the world.
Further adoption of AI will help in cutting down emissions in the future as artificial intelligence can aid in reducing road congestion and traffic by optimizing routes for traffic signals, fleets, and more. Machine learning technologies can also aid in minimizing the number of trips taken by freight transportation and reduce possible disruptions while in transit thus improving supply chain systems.
These might seem like small-scale changes at first, but they add up to produce a significant impact on climate change.
Sustainable supply chains and environmental monitoring could be deployed in the agricultural sector by combining artificial intelligence with precision agriculture. This can aid in the reduction of emissions and assist initiatives to reduce water wastage. AI-powered drones and robotics can also help farmers in predicting the kinds of crops to grow based on soil type, improving soil health and lessening the need for fertilizers.
Furthermore, governments and companies can also use AI to deploy solutions and strategies to reduce waste in all forms. An example of this is AI-powered control systems that reduce the energy wastage of a building simply by taking into consideration factors such as weather forecasts, environmental conditions, and current building occupancy.
Refine Energy Efficiency
AI should be able to improve energy efficiency by 15% in the next 3 to 5 years according to the Capgemini Research Institute. Machine learning technologies support efficiencies in power generation and distribution, from fleet management and route optimization to autonomous maintenance and leak detection.
AI has the capability to comb through data from electricity systems and forecast energy generation and demand to assist suppliers in the better utilization of resources and fill in gaps with renewable resources.
AI and machine learning are creating a myriad of opportunities for us to change the future of the world we live in. However, we will still face challenges even in the early stages of ideating, designing, and building these technologies.
Our environment is our responsibility. Combining integrated technology with our collective action is what’s needed to reduce carbon emissions and create a world better and healthier than it was yesterday.