Climate Change and AI: Recommendations for Government
New report highlights the potential for AI to support climate action; offers recommendations for policy makers to expedite AI-for-climate solutions.
November 8, 2021 - A new report, developed by the Centre for AI & Climate and Climate Change AI for the Global Partnership on AI (GPAI), calls for governments to recognise the potential for artificial intelligence (AI) to accelerate the transition to net zero, and to put in place the support needed to advance AI-for-climate solutions. The report is being presented at COP26 today.
The report, Climate Change and AI: Recommendations for Government, highlights 48 specific recommendations for how governments can both support the application of AI to climate challenges and address the climate-related risks that AI poses.
The report was commissioned by the Global Partnership on AI (GPAI), a partnership between 18 countries and the EU that brings together experts from across countries and sectors to help shape the development of AI.
AI is already being used to support climate action in a wide range of use cases, several of which the report highlights. These include:
- National Grid ESO, which has used AI to double the accuracy of its forecasts of UK electricity demand. Radically improving forecasts of electricity demand and renewable energy generation will be critical in enabling greater proportions of renewable energy on electricity grids.
- The UN Satellite Centre (UNOSAT), which has developed the FloodAI system that delivers high-frequency flood reports. FloodAI’s reports, which use a combination of satellite data and machine learning, have improved the response to climate-related disasters in Asia and Africa.
- Climate TRACE, a global coalition of organizations, which has radically improved the transparency and accuracy of emissions monitoring by leveraging AI algorithms and data from more than 300 satellites and 11,000 sensors.
The authors also detail critical bottlenecks that are impeding faster adoption. To address these, the report calls for governments to:
- Improve data ecosystems in sectors critical to climate transition, including the development of digital twins in e.g. the energy sector.
- Increase support for research, innovation, and deployment through targeted funding, infrastructure, and improved market designs.
- Make climate change a central consideration in AI strategies to shape the responsible development of AI as a whole.
- Support greater international collaboration and capacity building to facilitate the development and governance of AI-for-climate solutions.
“AI is not a silver bullet, but there are exciting opportunities to apply AI to help accelerate the transition to net zero and support climate resilience. The opportunity AI offers on climate change is currently under-appreciated by governments. This report offers governments a playbook for how they can make it easier for innovators to develop AI-for-climate solutions.”
- Peter Clutton-Brock, Co-founder, Centre for AI & Climate
“The trajectory of AI isn’t fixed - it will be greatly shaped by the choices we make today. It is critical that governments be proactive in aligning these developments with climate action.”
- Lynn Kaack, Co-founder and Chair, Climate Change AI; Assistant Professor, Hertie School
“There are many ways that AI can be a powerful tool in enabling and accelerating climate action, from monitoring carbon stock using satellite imagery, to optimizing heating and cooling in buildings, forecasting crop yield, and helping design next-generation batteries.”
- David Rolnick, Co-founder and Chair, Climate Change AI; Assistant Professor and Canada CIFAR AI Chair, McGill University
“The climate and the digital transitions are the two most powerful trends of our century. The way in which we manage them, and their increasing interaction, will play a big role in humanity’s future. We need to create pathways to harness the power of AI to preserve the environment in a way that does not endanger but actually upholds the best from our social and democratic values.”
- Nicolas Miailhe, Co-Lead of the GPAI Committee on Climate Action & Biodiversity Preservation; Founder & President, The Future Society
“There’s nothing more pressing than climate action. All hands must be on deck, and Artificial Intelligence systems can help. We propose a roadmap to use AI in a responsible manner in government climate action, coined with the best experts in the field.”
- Raja Chatila, Co-Lead of the GPAI Committee on Climate Action & Biodiversity Preservation; Co-Lead of the GPAI Responsible AI Working Group; Professor Emeritus, Sorbonne Université
“This report is urgently needed to help governments unlock the potential for AI in fighting climate change, in areas like energy, land use, and disaster response.”
- Yoshua Bengio, Co-Lead of the GPAI Responsible AI Working Group; Professor and Turing Award Laureate, Université de Montréal and Mila - Quebec AI Institute
“This report is a shining example of the collaboration we need between governments and the artificial intelligence community to accelerate progress towards 2030 climate goals. It reveals significant opportunities for policymakers and flags the traps we must avoid, in using AI as a tool for climate action.”
- Nigel Topping & Gonzalo Muñoz, UN High Level Champions, COP26
For further comment, please contact: GPAIemail@example.com
Global Partnership on AI (GPAI) is an organisation formed of 18 countries and the EU that brings together AI and subject matter experts from around the world to help shape the development of AI. GPAI’s mission is to support and guide the responsible adoption of AI that is grounded in human rights, inclusion, diversity, innovation, economic growth, and societal benefit, while seeking to address the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
The Centre for AI & Climate (CAIC) is a centre of expertise dedicated to accelerating the adoption of data science and AI to support faster action on climate change. CAIC’s mission is to connect capabilities across technology, policy, and business to accelerate the application of data science and A.I. in climate solutions.
Climate Change AI (CCAI) is an international nonprofit that catalyzes impactful work at the intersection of climate change and AI by providing education and infrastructure, advancing discourse, and building partnerships. CCAI has led the creation of conferences, grants programs, and foundational reports on climate change and AI, and has built a global community of stakeholders from academia, industry, policy, and civil society.