Could Artificial Intelligence help raise awareness about climate change?

Artifical Intelligence
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The study, “Tackling Climate Change with Machine Learning”, was presented last June within a series of conferences around Artificial Intelligence (AI), and aims to draw the attention of all researchers and all those who work on AI in any of its variations, from the need to collaborate together to help in the fight against climate change[1].

The study presents up to 13 areas or subjects related to machine learning. Areas that can help fight climate change. They can help in different aspects like energy production, CO2 removal, education, solar geoengineering, and finance. And within those fields, great possibilities for innovation and research open up. For example, the construction of more energy efficient buildings. The creation of new low-carbon materials. Improved monitoring of deforestation and for the creation of new, greener forms of transportation.

Impact of climate change in an economical perspective point of view

In addition to its serious impact on the environment and people, climate change is also one of the greatest threats to economic stability. Heat waves reduce work capacity and productivity. Hurricanes, cyclones and typhoons leave millions of people in absolute poverty after devastating populations with total indifference. And droughts reduce harvests, making the difficult task of feeding a world population that promises to reach 10 billion people by 2050 increasingly difficult. And the World Bank warns: if we do not take urgent action, the impacts of climate change could push 100 million more people into poverty by 2030[2].

Until recently considered a simple externality, environmental health has come to play a key role in the models of today’s economists[3].

In 2006, the British government became the first to commission an economist to produce a climate report. The chosen one was Nicholas Stern – chief economist of the World Bank – and the result was a text of 700 pages that has become a reference in the matter and in which Stern already affirmed that “greenhouse gas emissions are the greatest market failure the world has ever seen”. In summary, the main conclusion of the Stern Report is the need to make an investment equivalent to 2% of world GDP to mitigate the effects of climate change[4].

climate_change_stats
Climate change impacts on agriculture and food security from a global economic perspective (source: IOPSCIENCE)

Climate change impacts on agriculture and food security from a global economic perspective. In what aspects can AI help in the face of climate change:

  • Improve climate prediction models: Climate or climate informatics is a discipline created in 2011 that arises from the union between data science and climate science. It deals with a variety of topics such as predicting extreme events such as hurricanes, paleoclimatology (reconstructing past weather conditions), using both local and large-scale models to predict the weather, or analyzing the socio-economic impacts of climate change. You can also open up new insights from the complex simulations generated by these climate models. These models began to be used in the 1960s. Since then they have created simulations of oceans, seas, cryosphere, the land surface or glaciers. Short- and long-term models whose data can result in predictions of climate change. Data that can allow a better organization and forecast of the different agents involved in the fight against climate change[5].
  • The effects of extreme weather: The GANs is a type of AI carried out by different institutes, laboratories and technology companies in order to show citizens what could happen in their homes in case of being damaged by the increase in the level of evil or by intense storms. It is not just about raising awareness about the reality of climate change from theoretical or abstract concepts. It is about showing its possible direct consequences in homes. That is, to teach that climate change is not something remote, that it can have direct repercussions on people’s lives[6].

Based on various algorithms, this app is being refined to go beyond homes. The intention is to show how entire neighborhoods and populations can suffer the consequences of climate change. Hence, images of citizens have been requested in certain areas. The objective is to be able to use this data in order to complete the algorithm and create increasingly accurate forecasts.

Therefore… to the question of whether Artificial Intelligence could help raise awareness about climate change …

Yes, it can. At least this is what a group of authors from different branches have defended in a study recently presented at a conference on artificial intelligence. Using technology like AI can help and, given the circumstances and dire consequences of climate change, any help to combat it is good.

However, according to David Rolnick of the University of Pennsylvania, AI can help, although it cannot solve all problems on its own. But it can be a very useful and beneficial tool for the fight against climate change[1].

In future posts, we will be continue writing about technology and business trends for enterprises. Furthermore, we recommend consulting the following literature to continue your digital transformation journey:

The objective of this blog is to provide a personal vision of how digital transformation trends will be impacting in our daily activities, businesses and lifestyle.

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[1] https://arxiv.org/abs/1906.05433

[2] https://pt.slideshare.net/ifpri/climate-change-impacts-on-agriculture-and-food-security-from-a-global-economic-perspective?ref=

[3] https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/10/8/085010

[4] https://www.lse.ac.uk/GranthamInstitute/publication/the-economics-of-climate-change-the-stern-review/

[5] https://blogs.nvidia.com/blog/2019/07/17/clima-climate-model/

[6] https://www.climate.com/tech-at-climate-corp/gans-disease-identification-model

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By Fernando Castañolinkedin2

Senior researcher, his research interest includes Smart-sensor, Industry 4.0, Internet of things, and cyber-physical systems.

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