AI Can Help Us Combat Climate Change: Here’s How

Aug 4, 2019 by CharismaticMannequin
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Climate change is the buzz phrase on everyone’s lips these days. Wherever you go, whatever news you read, it’s the hot topic. Our world is changing, and much of that change is caused by what we do as individuals every day; how we travel, how we commute, the foods we eat, the entertainment we consume – it all adds up.

When it comes to technology, there are many ways developing and using technology can actually help us affect climate change in a positive way. AI is one such way, and it can help us in more ways than you might think. 

Here are just a few for you to consider.

#1: Help Us Understand How Much Electricity We’ll Need Now and in the Future

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Renewable energy isn’t always reliable in terms of immediate power generation. It takes time to source energy from such sources (after all the sun isn’t always out, and there’s not always wind available). 

AI can help us here by accurately predicting how much energy we’re likely to need at any given moment, meaning we can account for and anticipate any sudden rises in power demand. While such a thing already exists, this can be improved using AI that can account for local weather and climate patterns, giving us more granular information and predictions.

#2: Storing Energy Needs a Smarter Brain

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Storing energy isn’t easy. It’s an ongoing development to find the most efficient method of harvesting and storing energy generated by sustainable sources, and AI is something we can use to help. Machine learning could help us design, discover, and develop new chemical structures that are optimal for storing energy and absorbing carbon dioxide. The latter could someday replace our usage of cement and steel – which account for around 10% of our greenhouse emissions.

#3: Monitor Emissions and the Removal of Our Forests

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A large portion of our greenhouse gas emissions comes from cutting down vast areas of forestry, releasing all that captured carbon. Using AI and satellite imagery, we could keep precise track of where emissions are coming from, and how much of our land is being used (or not used) to capture carbon.

#4: Improve Our Electric Vehicle Range

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Smart algorithms could help our cars improve management of their batteries, increasing overall mileage and optimising power usage during journeys. Additionally, aggregating charging data could help grid operators manage user power-draw, and also optimise where charging stations are placed, improving infrastructure.

#5: More Energy-Efficient Buildings

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An intelligent building management system could help drastically reduce how much energy a building uses, by taking into account the weather forecast, how many people are living in the building, as well as factors like heating, cooling, lighting, and ventilation. If it’s connected to the grid directly, it could also be a great way to reduce power draw when low-carbon energy sources are running low, offsetting large portions of energy use.

#6: Geo-engineer a More Reflective Atmosphere

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Imagine if we could make clouds more reflective or even develop artificial clouds to help reflect some of the Sun’s rays back out into space. That would help us keep the planet much cooler, and would offer us a great temporary method of preventing global warming while we fix the long-term issues causing it. 

AI could help us achieve this.

#7: Optimising Logistics and Manufacturing 

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AI could help us reduce inefficiency in places like farming and supply chains, removing any issues that cause unnecessary carbon emissions. AI could predict supply and demand in supply chains, while helping farmers optimise their planting, harvesting, and fertiliser usage.

 

AI is often approached as a scary topic, with many of our thoughts leaning directly into media like the Terminator movies and its Skynet doomsday prophecies. But used correctly and applied to specific issues, AI can help us change our world for the better, and remove much of the hard legwork needed to induce far-reaching changes to the way we live and consume. 

What do you think? Is there a way AI can help solve climate change that’s not listed above? Drop your comments below, and share your thoughts on solving climate change with all of us!

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