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How to use Artificial Intelligence to fight climate change

Human civilization is going through a transitional phase of its two great events. The first is the planet’s Earth entry into the era of global boiling from global warming and the second one is the era of artificial intelligence (AI) where AI is now available to every person on the planet who has a smartphone or computer-like. Both events are going to be the most deciding events in terms of how humans are going to evolve in the next few decades. Although Artificial intelligence is the intelligence of a machine it can mimic human intelligence in problem-solving with enormous data processed at lightning speed. If utilized properly it can help us in fighting the crisis of global warming which is the ultimate cause of climate change on Earth. 

Will artificial intelligence help us in fighting global warming?

This is a million-dollar question because it solely depends upon how we train artificial intelligence as well as how AI evolve in future. After all, one thing is obvious AI uses more energy than any other form of computing. Since training an advanced AI requires enormous energy consumption, it is a bit like a paradox that using too many AI tools to solve problems like climate change will eventually produce a burden on energy demand and can be a hindrance in achieving net zero. AI can push energy usage over the roof to the point where it will be difficult for the current power systems to handle it. One training run for an AI engine can use energy equivalent to the consumption of 120 houses in a year. So there is a possibility that in the future single AI, training centres may have an electricity demand equivalent to an entire metro city. But this problem is of a different dimension, so if AI can help us in the fight against global warming, then how do we have to train it? 

How Artificial intelligence can help combat climate change? 

The distinctive property of AI in doing intelligent algorithms at a very fast speed using iterative processes over a large amount of data makes it very useful for monitoring or even in predicting weather and climate behaviour at a more precise level. We can utilize artificial intelligence in various ways for the mitigation of global warming and several studies are going on this topic. AI can enhance and widen our understanding of climate change, and it can help us effectively tackle the climate catastrophe. There are several problems regarding global warming and climate change in which we can train an AI tool to give a better solution. A few of these aspects are discussed below. 

Monitoring greenhouse gas emission and carbon footprint

Global energy demand is growing and it will increase the pressure on energy-generating sources. There are some areas where artificial intelligence solutions are well-established e.g. emissions measurement and the monitoring of natural carbon sinks, but the majority of current AI-related climate change solutions are dispersed difficult to access, and lacking the resources to scale. There is a very wide spectrum of greenhouse gas emissions from different sources so training an AI to real-time monitoring of these sources is challenging. However, the fast processing capacity of AI over a large set of data can specify the anomalous greenhouse emitter in a very fast way. This will eventually help us in the deployment of carbon offset programs to that specific source in a shorter period. 

Developing techniques and methods for energy efficiency and reducing GHG emissions

There is a huge opportunity to utilize AI in developing tools and techniques through which we can offset greenhouse gas emissions by enhancing energy efficiency. As the economy expands, the ultimate burden will be going on the energy demand which will eventually impact the environment and can act as a catalyst in raising global average temperature. The application of artificial intelligence in high-consuming energy sectors can amplify energy efficiency by predicting the energy demand, its optimization and consumption. The AI can monitor and optimize real-time energy supply, demand and loss not only in bigger industries but applying its intelligence to smaller industries can amplify the efficiency in energy utilization. Developing AI in smart buildings, prediction of renewable energy system management, managing thermal and other energy storage systems etc. can increase energy efficiency to a wider level. For a detailed study on various applications for energy efficiency, readers can go through a research paper published by Lin Chen and co-authors in the journal Environmental Chemistry Letters (2023). In the published study it has been found that enhancing energy efficiency can significantly contribute to reducing the impact of climate change. The study also reveals that smart manufacturing can reduce energy consumption, waste, and carbon emissions by 30–50% whereas intelligent transportation systems can reduce global carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 60%. The field itself is very new and there are still several opportunities which remain to be explored. 

Using AI for monitoring weather patterns and natural hazards

Climate change is one of the most difficult problems human civilization is facing and this has led to a shift in weather patterns on a global scale and frequent climate-related hazards. The variables involved in predicting climate dynamics are very complex and contain a large set of data. The time taken in collecting and processing climate data can be hugely reduced by utilizing AI tools especially those trained in processing and optimizing climate data. One more useful aspect of AI is that we can visualize the consequence of climate shifts and weather patterns and their effect on the concerned geographic location. Another aspect of using AI in climate change studies is that it can process the constantly evolving climate data rapidly and give us near-precise results regarding the changes in the environment. To improve disaster mitigation globally, (the World Meteorological Organization) WMO, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) have set out to investigate the potential of artificial intelligence (AI). The likelihood of natural disasters and hazards is increasing as global climate change realities become more widespread. Building reliable data-based AI algorithms can help in predicting climate change-led natural hazards on time. So training an AI for global warming and climate change module can broaden our understanding of shifts in natural phenomena due to climate change patterns.


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