Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to significantly contribute to the development of climate-resilient and low-emission solutions. The UN Climate Change’s Initiative on Artificial Intelligence for Climate Action (#AI4ClimateAction) explores the impactful role of AI as a tool to advance transformative climate action in developing nations. Aligned with UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ call for the development of “reliable and safe” AI to accelerate climate action and achieve Sustainable Development Goals, the #AI4ClimateAction Initiative aims to achieve tangible outcomes in policy and implementation.
Several AI-powered solutions for climate action in developing countries, including least developed countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS), are already in progress:
- Innovative adaptation technologies: AI-powered models can offer early warnings by predicting disasters. For instance, the Biosphere Reserves as Observatories for Climate Change Adaptation in Southern Africa (Be-Resilient) utilizes AI to forecast flooding patterns in Mozambique.
- Agri-food systems optimization: AI helps predict optimal planting times, assess soil health, monitor pests, and diseases. Precision agriculture driven by AI reduces water usage, encourages sustainable farming, and increases food production. The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) employs AI to enhance impact-based forecasting in East Africa’s agriculture sectors, vital for food security and economic development.
- Renewable energy efficiency: AI algorithms predict energy demand, optimize grid operations, and seamlessly integrate renewable energy sources. Projects like Global Renewables Watch use AI and satellite imagery to map utility-scale solar and wind installations, enabling tracking of clean energy transition progress over time.
To support the #AI4ClimateAction Initiative, the UN Climate Change Technology Executive Committee (TEC) engages national climate technology focal points, civil society, academia, and private sector representatives during Regional Climate Weeks. These consultations address the ethical use of AI, the development of regulatory frameworks, stakeholder engagement, technical capacity strengthening, and inclusive AI-powered tools. The next consultation will occur during the Asia-Pacific Climate Week in Malaysia.
Looking ahead to COP28, TEC will host a high-level event on AI for climate action in collaboration with the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) and the incoming COP Presidency. Additionally, TEC, in partnership with Enterprise Neurosystem, plans to launch the AI Innovation Grand Challenge—a competition encouraging new AI applications for climate mitigation and adaptation in developing countries.
Source: United Nation Climate Change