Google says AI could mitigate 5 to 10% of global emissions

Artificial intelligence (AI) could mitigate up to 5 to 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, according to a new report from Google and Boston Consulting Group.

“The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) forecasts that the world needs to reduce emissions by 43% by 2030,” the tech giant wrote in the report.

“We believe that AI and collective action can help achieve this goal and create a sustainable future for everyone.”

To maximise the potential of AI, Google suggests that it requires “collective action” from policymakers, city planners, business leaders and individuals.

In particular, policymakers play a “central role” in enabling the use of AI for climate action by encouraging data sharing and affordable technology while also supporting the creation and expansion of technology and climate-related upskilling programmes for businesses.

Google added that policymakers need to promote “environmentally and socially responsible development of AI.”

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The tech company acknowledged that AI impacts the environment , stating that AI needs to be built “responsibly” and its environmental impact needs to be managed.

“To minimise the carbon footprint of AI workloads, we rely on tested practices that can reduce the energy required to train an AI model by up to 100 times and reduce associated emissions by up to 1,000 times,” Google wrote.

“A Google-owned and -operated data centre is on average more than 1.5 times as energy efficient as a typical enterprise data centre, and the average annual power usage effectiveness (PUE) for our global fleet of data centres was 1.10, compared with the industry average of 1.55.

“We take a climate-conscious approach to cooling our data centres, as we continue to champion responsible water use,” it added.

Currently, Google is trialling a new scheme in Greater Manchester that uses AI to reduce the amount of stop and go traffic.

At the time, the company’s managing director and vice president Debbie Weinstein added: “AI is the most profound technology that we’re working on today, with potential to boost the UK’s productivity and support net zero ambitions.”

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