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15 November 2018 by Louise Crouch

Climate Change: Can AI help us?

Climate Change: Can AI help us?

Climate change; possibly the most pressing crisis of our time, one that requires immediate attention across the globe. Thankfully, Artificial Intelligence is developing at such a rate that it now offers more promising solutions than humans to combat such a calamity.

We live in a time termed ‘The Fourth Industrial Revolution’, characterised by a fusion of technologies; the merging of digital, physical and biological realms. Now is our unique opportunity to harness this to redesign how we live before it is too late.

Organisations are already taking steps to do just this. For example, power company Agder Energi is using AI and the Cloud to predict changing energy needs in Norway, in line with the rapidly-increasing penetration of electric vehicles. An approach like this can lower the need for excess capacity.

Neural networks for renewable power are also being developed to improve energy efficiency and reliability. Sensors have been attached to solar and wind power generation plants to supply data for machine learning monitoring, which has enabled remote inspection of sites, prediction for maintenance, and energy resource forecasting. This increases control and maintenance efficiency, ultimately lowering costs of solar and wind energy.

These are just a couple of examples, but the potential scope for AI applications to help in a bigger way is vast. I have detailed just a few initiatives below.

Create Clean Power

  • Smart grids for electricity use
  • Renewable energy plant assessments
  • Optimised virtual power plants
  • Optimised energy system forecasting

Create Sustainable Land Use

  • Early crop yield prediction
  • Hyper-local weather forecasting for crop management
  • Early detection of crop issues
  • Monitoring health & well-being in livestock farming

Bring in Smart Transport

  • AI-enabled electric cars
  • Integrated cost-efficient transport systems
  • Demand-response charging infrastructure

Create Sustainable Production and Consumption

  • Smart recycling systems
  • Smarter fresh-food replenishment
  • Supply chain monitoring and transparency

And it doesn’t stop there. Artificial Intelligence also has the ability to unlock solutions for other global issues such as conservation, polluted oceans, contaminated air, water security and many more. These transformative solutions could one day include...

  • Autonomous Electric Vehicles
  • Energy Grids
  • Smart Agriculture
  • Weather forecasting and climate modelling
  • Community disaster response data
  • Decentralised Water
  • AI-designed intelligent livable cities
  • Oceans data platform
  • An earth bank of codes

Leveraging this technology to create a safer environment and more sustainable way of living for us calls for an incredible collaborative effort. But if we get this right, it could create a sustainability revolution.