Using artificial intelligence (AI) for environmental applications could reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by 4% by 2030, according to a report by multinational professional services network PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC UK) on Tuesday.
The reduction in emissions is equivalent to 2.4 gigatons, the report says.
"AI can be harnessed in a wide range of economic sectors and situations to contribute to managing environmental impacts and climate change," PwC UK said via a report commissioned by Microsoft.
Some examples given in the report of AI application include, AI-infused clean distributed energy grids, sustainable supply chains, environmental monitoring and enforcement and enhanced weather and disaster prediction and response.
The use of AI accompanied by the adoption of a wider complementary technology infrastructure could also contribute up to $5.2 trillion to the global economy by 2030, "driven by optimized use of inputs, higher output productivity and automation of manual and routine tasks," the report says.
"Put simply, AI can enable our future systems to be more productive for the economy and for nature," said Celine Herweijer, global sustainability leader at PwC UK.
As productivity improves, AI could create 38.2 million net new jobs across the global economy offering more skilled occupations as part of this transition, the report estimates.
The report specifies five principles to unlock the potential of AI for the environment:
- Facilitating awareness, value alignment, collaboration and multi-disciplinary partnerships,
- Using responsible AI and extending this principled approach to include societal and environmental impacts,
- Addressing digital infrastructure needs, access to AI tools and data, and wider complementary technologies,
- Providing opportunities and training for up-skilling and re-skilling to adapt to sectoral transformations,
- Encouraging research and development from research to scalable commercial deployment.
By Zeynep Beyza Kilic