We need net-zero AI emissions — a global issue
To maintain climate change goals, AI must achieve net-zero emissions.Credit: Shutterstock
  • opinion Written by Philippe Benoit (Washington DC)
  • interpress service

However, AI requires large amounts of computational power. Electricity can generate additional emissions.

Unfortunately, according to International Energy Agency climate modeling There is no room for adding new sources of energy emissions. Therefore, to maintain climate change goals, AI must achieve net-zero emissions.

AI can reduce emissions in numerous activities across a variety of sectors. for example, AI can help Reduce emissions from manufacturing, food systems and road transport while increasing the production of zero-carbon electricity from solar and wind power.

However, recent reports point out that demand is rapidly increasing. especially in the USAimed at producing more power, driven in part by AI’s computing needs. with this, Increase in associated emissions.

Furthermore, as announced by Nividia, The latest and most powerful AI performance chip, the growing demand for AI and the power required for AI is likely to increase further.And this doesn’t just happen in the world America., but around the world, as reflected in Saudi Arabia plans to invest $40 billion in AI.

While there may be some efficiency gains thanks to AI, a net increase in electricity demand is expected, especially as the entertainment industry and others develop new and creative uses for AI.

This AI-driven increase could begin in the next few years, long before the power grid is transformed from its current fossil fuel-based system to a low-emission, renewable energy-based system.

As a result, emissions from the power sector are expected to increase further in the short term.In the long run, available resources will also decrease carbon balancewhich is the future emissions that can be accommodated within the following range: internationally agreed temperature targets.

I.E.A. Net zero emissions by 2050 Climate scenarios and similar climate pathways are constructed based on balanceCarbon dioxide emissions and carbon dioxide from the energy sector delete. Deploying renewable energy, energy efficiency, fuel switching and other low-carbon technologies are key to reducing emissions to a level that is balanced by removal.

But unmanaged AI could hinder this effort, as its thirst for electricity could eliminate new sources of emissions. AI must “pay its price” on the climate by achieving net-zero emissions, and preferably even net-negative emissions.

How can we achieve this? First, a concerted effort to power data centers and other AI-related infrastructure with renewable energy without cannibalizing low-emission power generation projects for homes and other consumers. is required. Governments and the private sector (including local and remote data center users and private capital) must work together to increase investment in renewable energy and accelerate adoption.

A second possible tool is to add heavy computational surcharges to AI users and possibly other large-scale computer activities. cryptocurrency miningto help finance additional investments in renewable energy.

Third, the impact of AI on the climate should be added to the discussion on managing possible negative impacts. false alarm and Job market turmoil. For example, the United Nations recently US-led resolution Making AI “safe, secure, and reliable.” Similar efforts need to be scaled up to address the potential emissions impacts of AI.

Fourth, and perhaps most effective, we need to find mechanisms to activate the AI ​​itself to achieve net-zero emissions and enable net-negative emissions. This should include developing innovative emissions reduction measures and further ways to increase the production of zero-carbon electricity. Focus on viable solutions.

We also need better methodologies to measure both increases and reductions in emissions generated by AI. This fourth pole should include a combination of private sector-led action, intergovernmental initiatives, and public-private research efforts.

As AI and the need for more power production take hold and are likely to accelerate even further than current projections, it’s important to manage: Greenhouse gas emissions could increase significantly That would undermine our climate goals. Governments, businesses, and others must incorporate the need for net-zero AI emissions into discussions about addressing the impacts of AI.

This oped was first published on The Hill

philippe benoit I am the managing director of 2050 Global Infrastructure Advisory Services. Previously, he held energy sector management positions at the International Energy Agency and the World Bank.most recently served as an adjunct senior fellow at Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy.

© Inter Press Service (2024) — All rights reservedSource: Interpress Service

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