The Role of AI in Climate Change Mitigation and Environmental Removal

Scientists, engineers and business professionals from various fields are being called to use their knowledge and expertise to find answers to the global emergency of climate change. It should come as no surprise that some of those solutions will likely be made possible by artificial intelligence.

Jim Bellingham, an early adopter of autonomous underwater robotics systems and executive director of the Johns Hopkins Institute for Assured Autonomy, believes climate data sets are large and need to be collected, analyzed and applied to make informed decisions. It takes a lot of time to research and implement real policy changes.

Bellingham, Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering in the Whiting School of Engineering and Asymmetric Operations Sector at APL, spoke with The Hub about how AI is being used to address the problem of climate change.

The Climate Crisis: Can AI Help?

Simply put, yes, there are many AI and computer vision applications that can solve the situation. There are many ways to employ artificial intelligence (AI) to fight global warming. Some have already been put into practice, some are still in the testing phase, and some haven't even started the development process yet.

However, AI is already being used effectively in environmental science, and will surely be used even more so in the fight against climate change.


Framework for using AI in tackling the mitigation section of climate change with reduction (intensity reduction of GHG emissions, improvement of energy efficiency and reduction of greenhouse effects) and removal (technical and environmental removals) with macro− and micro−scale Measurements have been added.


Macro−scale measurements:

Overall environmental emissions play an important role in climate projection models. For example, AI can support such models by augmenting measurements or scanning satellite−based remote sensing data for additional analysis.

Micro−level measurement:

Manufacturers can track their progress towards ESG goals, understand the carbon footprint of their products, or scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions reductions using micro−level emissions data could find. Customers can use this knowledge to make better decisions about the things they buy and the steps they take to reduce their carbon footprint.


One strategy to reduce the effects of climate change is to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. This can be accomplished through technology advances such as carbon capture and storage, or through natural mechanisms such as greater photosynthesis by plants. There are two basic categories of elimination:

Environmental removal

Natural ecosystems such as wetlands, forests, and algae are essential for the removal of atmospheric carbon. Monitoring these ecosystems requires collecting and processing vast amounts of data, which is a situation where AI is particularly useful.

Technological Removal

Industrial processes can complement environmental removal, although they are still in the early stages and have problems of scale. AI will be a valuable friend in finding solutions to these problems as quickly as possible.

Promises of AI

Better data analysis for better climate modelling:

AI's ability to rapidly and accurately analyze large amounts of data is one of the primary benefits of technology in tackling climate change. AI−powered predictive analytics uses statistical algorithms and data to forecast future trends, providing us with more accurate and timely insights.

The DeepCube project, which uses deep learning to analyze satellite data and make predictions about sea surface temperatures, is an example of how AI can be used to improve climate change forecasting. Used to be. It has been demonstrated that this strategy outperforms conventional climate models in terms of accuracy and effectiveness.

System optimization for energy:

AI is proving helpful in many areas of the energy transition, including increasing the accuracy of renewable energy forecasts, streamlining grid operations, coordinating distributed energy resources and demand−side management, and developing new materials to cut greenhouse gas emissions involves speeding up.

For example, researchers at Case Western Reserve University are using AI to examine data from solar power facilities and precise areas to increase efficiency. Additionally, AI can be used to optimize the structure of wind farms and model wind turbine wake flow, increasing the efficiency and affordability of wind power generation.

Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation

By combining environmental, climate and weather data, artificial intelligence (AI) can aid climate risk and impact analysis by analyzing climate risk and accurately accounting for carbon emissions. It can also help researchers analyze satellite images to detect land use changes such as deforestation that contribute to climate change.

Additionally, AI can be used to create energy−efficient networks, using data analytics to optimize energy use and reduce carbon dioxide emissions across different layers.

Problems with AI

Negative environmental impact

Training huge algorithms such as deep learning models requires processing huge amounts of data through complex mathematical calculations. These calculations require high−performance computer resources, including powerful CPUs and specialized equipment such as graphics processing units (GPUs). Because of this, training of these models can use a lot of energy, which can have a big impact on the environment.

In fact, a study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology showed that the energy required to train a complex algorithm could release up to 284,000 kg of carbon dioxide. The study also revealed that as the demands of AI applications increase, the energy use and carbon footprint of training algorithms are likely to increase.

Data security and privacy issues

Employing AI requires large amounts of data to be collected and processed, which raises questions regarding data security, privacy, and misuse. These concerns are valid because AI systems rely on data to learn and make decisions.

Sensitive information may be present in the data needed to train AI models, and improper handling of this data can result in privacy breaches and data breaches. AI systems can also be vulnerable to cyber attacks, which can lead to data theft or manipulation.

AI Automation and ethical concerns

As computers become better at performing tasks that humans used to do, there is growing concern that AI could result in serious job losses in the future. As climate change is found to exacerbate existing social and economic inequalities, the urgent difficulties that arise will be exacerbated.

According to a McKinsey Global Institute report, automation and AI could displace 375 million workers by 2030, or about 14% of the world's employment.


In conclusion, even though AI has enormous potential to mitigate the devastating effects of climate change, we should not overlook the potential harm of applying AI to environmental protection. We must be proactive in creating AI solutions that give high priority to energy efficiency, restrict carbon emissions, and take steps to reduce the ecological impact of AI development and adoption.

Updated on: 01-Aug-2023


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