Can AI Be Used to Help Save the Planet?

Artificial intelligence is having an increased presence in automating how human beings live their lives and now it’s set to play a pivotal role in efforts to mitigate climate change and preserve the environment.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to global warming, however startups around the world are responsibly developing AI solutions to tackle some of the toughest problems related to climate change.

AI can help us fight climate change by reducing emissions, improving energy efficiency, and increasing the use of renewable energy sources.

According to the 2022 BCG Climate AI Survey report, 87% of private and public sector CEOs who are consciously making decisions in relation to AI and corporate social responsibility matters to do with sustainability and the environment, believe AI is an essential tool in the fight against climate change. Public and private sector executives identified the most significant business value of climate-related advanced analytics and AI in the field of mitigation (reduction) at 61%, with mitigation (measuring emissions) at 57%, as part of the same report. Other areas include adaptation (forecasting hazards) at 44%, adaptation (managing vulnerabilities and exposure) at 42%, mitigation (removing emissions) at 37% and fundamentals (facilitating climate research, climate finance, and education) at 28%.

AI can contribute to climate change mitigation, e.g., through energy efficiency or by reducing emissions from transportation, agriculture and industry. AI can help society adapt to the impacts of climate change by improving our ability to predict extreme weather events and providing decision-support tools to help us respond more effectively. AI can also play a role in increasing our resilience to the effects of climate change by helping us identify risk factors and develop plans to mitigate them.

A Framework For Using AI in Combating Climate Change

We need to anticipate the potential impacts of climate change and take steps to mitigate them before they occur. This is essential to ensuring the resilience of communities and our economy and protecting the most vulnerable among us.

AI can help accelerate mitigation, adaptation and resilience efforts by providing the tools and data we need to make informed decisions.

This framework includes a number of steps involved for using AI for the Climate:

1. Mitigation: The Mitigation portion of the Framework For Using AI in Combating Climate Change is a combination of Measurement on the macro and micro levels, Reduction (Reduction of GHG emissions intensity, ​Improvement of energy efficiency and ​Reduction of greenhouse effects) as well as Removal (Environmental removal and ​Technological removal).

2. Adaptation and Resilience: This includes hazard forecasting and ​projecting localized long-term trends to ​build early warning systems that can provide timely alerts about upcoming events. For example, by analyzing data from weather stations, satellite images and sensor networks, AI can help us identify conditions conducive to extreme weather events such as hurricanes, floods and wildfires.

3. Vulnerability and Exposure Management: This step includes ​managing crises, for example, AI can be used to identify people at risk of being affected by the event and match them with the resources they need. AI can also monitor the situation in real-time and provide information about the people’s location, infrastructure condition and the status of relief efforts.​ AI can help strengthen infrastructure and Intelligent irrigation systems that use weather data and plant sensors to optimize watering schedules can help reduce the impact of drought. AI-enabled flood defenses that use real-time data about rainfall, river levels and land elevation can help protect against flooding. And intelligent buildings that use sensor data to adjust heating, cooling and ventilation can help save energy and reduce emissions.

4. Protecting Populations: Increased migration is one of the potential impacts of climate change. AI can help manage this by providing decision-support tools for managing refugee camps, tracking migrants and coordinating relief efforts. AI can also be used to monitor the situation in real-time and provide information about the location of people, the condition of infrastructure and the status of relief efforts.

5. Preserving Biodiversity: Species identification systems that use machine learning can help us track and protect endangered species. And AI-enabled monitoring systems that use satellite images and sensor data can help us detect illegal logging, poaching and other activities that threaten biodiversity.

The Framework For Using AI in Combating Climate Change shows how to build resilient and robust systems that can withstand and recover from extreme weather events. It also created a set of fundamentals for climate research and modeling of economic and social transition, climate finance such as carbon-price forecasting, education, and behavioural change.

For more information on how you can build sustainable AI frameworks for your business to help save the planet, talk to Crowd today.