World Economic Forum: Post breakthrough: How AI can lift climate research out of the lab and into the real world

Country: Australia
World Economic Forum: Post breakthrough: How AI can lift climate research out of the lab and into the real world
30 May 2024

The world is placing significant bets on technology to combat the climate crisis, with scientists and technologists globally working on breakthroughs in climate adaptation and mitigation. Recent years have seen notable progress, from weather forecasting to industrial decarbonization, but more breakthroughs are expected. However, these breakthroughs alone are not enough; impact occurs when scientific and technological advancements are applied in the real world. Alongside pure research and development, climate leaders must focus on applicable results and downstream segments of the innovation cycle, such as product prototyping and user engagement. The emergence of Generative AI (GenAI) has expanded possibilities, potentially driving adoption of advanced tools and raising awareness of the latest science. AI can organize Earth data and downscale models to local levels, simplify complex climate models into understandable language, and accelerate the prototyping phase of technology development. An ecosystem approach, characterized by multi-stakeholder participation and collaboration, is essential for delivering practical tools and use-cases for addressing the climate crisis. Initiatives like the World Economic Forum’s Tech for Climate Adaptation Initiative are guiding efforts to leverage advanced technologies like AI for concrete climate-related activities, with a focus on collaboration and showcasing technology’s potential across the innovation cycle. While AI may offer breakthroughs for climate change, building ecosystems and fostering collaboration will be key to realizing its full potential.

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