How AI is helping in the fight against climate change

The challenge of climate change is a call to action for every industry and sector. Happily, artificial intelligence has the potential to improve efficiency across much of the commercial landscape. If a business operates within the digital sphere, it is likely that AI can contribute. We look at the expected environmental benefits of the continued integration of AI into the global economy.

Is AI the boost net zero needs?

AI is gaining momentum in its contributions to a net zero future. A 2019 report commissioned by Microsoft, claimed that the widespread use of AI would create a 4% reduction in global GHG (Greenhouse Gas) emissions by 2030. While this sounds insignificant, it is a massive cut – equal to six times the UKs total GHG output.

In addition, the report estimated that AI integration could generate nearly 40 million new jobs worldwide, thereby encouraging the kinds of roles that will be central to the new green economy.

New research from Capgemini predicts an exponential improvement on Microsoft’s initial figures. Capgemini now predicts that AI will reduce GHG  emissions by 16% over the next 3-5 years.

The research is informed by expertise from 800 individuals across 400 organisations linked to sustainability and accompanying technology. Among those surveyed, 48% are already including AI in their climate change strategies.

Which businesses stand to benefit the most?

Capgemini’s research also shows that there are specific sectors for which AI could deliver early environmental benefits.

The automotive, consumer products, energy and utilities, industrial manufacturing, and retail industries could meet up to 45% of their Economic Emission Intensity (EEI) targets using AI. These targets are part of the Paris Agreement and artificial intelligence would help reach them through optimisation and efficiency measures.

One potential story is Stena Line, a ferrying group out of Sweden that is using AI to reduce fuel consumption in their vessels. The company will use this technology to support the decisions of captains of future vessels, if it proves successful.

Commercial enterprises with large business real estate can already benefit from AI technology. Since building management technology is already in widespread use, the gradual addition of artificial intelligence can improve the value of these existing systems while not requiring large initial investment.

Systems like heating and cooling, lighting, space occupancy, and air quality account for some of the biggest costs to a business.  However, they are also responsible for a large portion of their emissions as well. Building heating alone contributes 10% of the UKs total carbon footprint.

The t-mac platform oversees all of these functions and is compatible with many parallel technologies. That means that as AI technology develops, our platform’s open nature will be able to adapt accordingly. To find out more about our platform and how it can help deliver your climate goals, get in touch.

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