New research finds 87 percent believe that AI is critical in the fight against climate change
A new report titled How AI Can Be a Powerful Tool in the Fight Against Climate Change from the AI for the Planet Alliance, produced in collaboration with Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and BCG GAMMA, reveals that 87 percent 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.
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 percent 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 percent of respondents cite insufficient AI expertise as an obstacle to using AI in their climate change efforts, 77 percent cite limited availability of AI solutions as a roadblock, and 67 percent point to a lack of confidence in AI-related data and analysis.
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.
Elias Baltassis, Partner & Director and BCG GAMMA Lead for the Middle East pointed out, “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, said The deployment of machine learning models, focused on GHG emissions abatements optimization, will accelerate initiatives for achieving net-zero emission targets across sectors.”
According to a BCG statement, there is very significant potential in leveraging digital technologies to reduce emissions. The World Economic Forum estimates that 15 percent of global emissions can be reduced, and even up to 20 percent in high-emitting sectors. BCGs own experience shows that using AI alone can deliver 5-10 percent 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.
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 percent 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 percent GHG emissions, or 2.6 to 5.3 gigatons of CO2e if applied globally.
A multitude of critical uses for AI exist in the climate change arena, but any successful AI solution must be user-friendly and readily accessible. It must offer tangible benefits to the user and provide clear recommendations that are easy to act on. AI solutions therefore need much more meaningful support, including access to capital investment, decision makers, and trained practitioners.