87% Leaders Believe AI Is Critical in the Fight Against Climate Change
Climate change will have significant impacts on environmental, social, political, and economic systems around the world. Climate change mitigation, along with adaptation and resilience, is therefore crucial.
Efforts to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 will be essential, as will efforts to prepare for the consequences of climate change and to minimize the resulting harm.
Applying advanced analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) to climate challenges provides a vital way to make meaningful change at this critical moment.
According to a new report from the AI for the Planet Alliance, produced in collaboration with Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and BCG GAMMA, 87% of public- and private-sector leaders who oversee climate and AI topics believe that AI is a valuable asset in the fight against climate change.
The report, titled How AI Can Be a Powerful Tool in the Fight Against Climate Change, was released on Monday.
Based on survey results from over 1,000 executives with decision-making authority on AI or climate-change initiatives, the report finds that roughly 40% of organizations can envision using AI for their own climate efforts.
However, even among these experts, there is widespread agreement that significant barriers to broad adoption remain in place:
78% of respondents cite insufficient AI expertise as an obstacle to using AI in their climate change efforts, 77% cite limited availability of AI solutions as a roadblock, and 67% point to a lack of confidence in AI-related data and analysis.
Elias Baltassis, Partner & Director and BCG GAMMA Lead for the Middle East said: "Beyond residences and offices using smart meters to monitor and control power usage, every sector, from manufacturing to real estate, can go green with AI.
"Integrating AI to track and reduce carbon footprint will enhance overall operations’ efficiency and reduce resource usage.
"The deployment of machine learning models, focused on GHG emissions abatements optimization, will accelerate initiatives for achieving net-zero emission targets across sectors.”
Simon Birkebaek, Middle East Climate & Sustainability Topic Lead, Partner, BCG said: “There is very significant potential in leveraging digital technologies to reduce emissions. The World Economic Forum estimates that 15% of global emissions can be reduced, even up to 20% in high-emitting sectors.
"BCGs own experience shows that using AI alone can deliver 5-10% of the required emission reduction—and save costs in the process.
"This is particularly important in the Middle East where countries have high technology aspirations and are rapidly accelerating climate commitments and actions."
Uses of AI in Combating Climate Change
Global leaders can use AI to achieve their goals in multiple ways:
Mitigation - One of the most critical uses of AI is in the measurement, reduction, and removal of emissions and greenhouse gas (GHG) effects.
More than 60% of public- and private-sector leaders see the greatest business value for their organizations in the reduction and measurement of emissions. According to BCG, use of AI can drive reductions of 5% to 10% GHG emissions, or 2.6 to 5.3 gigatons of CO2e if applied globally.
Adaptation and Resilience - Adapting to climate change is a critical undertaking for policy makers and the public, as it boosts resilience to the effects of both long-term climate trends and extreme weather events.
AI is well suited to help project climate-related hazards, whether by improving long-term projections of localized events such as sea-level rise or by upgrading early warning systems for extreme phenomena such as hurricanes or droughts.
Fundamentals - AI can be used to support research and education efforts about climate change, helping stakeholders understand the risks and implications involved and encouraging them to share what they learn.
These efforts support and magnify ongoing work toward mitigation and adaptation and resilience.
BCG announces participation in the Global AI Summit
BCG’s AI & climate experts Elias Baltassis, Shelly Trench, Dr Hans-Paul Buerkner, and François Candelon will offer strategic insights on Investing in AI, climate change and smart cities at the Global AI Summit taking place from September 13-15 in Riyadh.