12 Areas for Business Ideas: Combating Climate Change With AI

Scientists point entrepreneurs to artificial intelligence (AI) technologies that can be used for highly effective solutions in climate protection.

Jan van Essen
Feb 25 · 2 min read
Photo by NASA on Unsplash

The effects of climate change are increasingly being felt. Heatwaves, storms, droughts, fires, and floods have become stronger and more frequent. The IPCC’s 2018 Special Report estimates that the world will face catastrophic consequences if global greenhouse gas emissions are not eliminated. However, year after year, global emissions continue to rise dramatically.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

The greatest challenge of mankind

According to a recent survey by the Körber Foundation, climate change is seen in Germany as by far the most urgent political task. UN Secretary-General António Guterres warns of a direct existential threat:

The world risks crossing the point of no return on climate change, with disastrous consequences for people across the planet and the natural systems that sustain them. — United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres

How can AI be used for climate protection?

In June 2019, 22 scientists published a paper (Tackling Climate Change with Machine Learning) that details how machine learning can be used to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help society adapt to climate change.

Opportunities for start-ups

The report also explicitly addresses the business community. Many companies can optimize their processes and reduce resource consumption through machine learning. There is great business potential for founders:

The authors present many problems in climate protection where existing AI techniques can contribute significantly to the solution. Some recommendations do not require further research. They only need to be applied.

Sectors with the potential for AI solutions

  1. Electricity Systems: e.g. manage flexible energy demand
  2. Transportation: e.g. support ride-sharing and shuttle services
  3. Buildings & Cities: e.g. improve energy consumption in houses
  4. Industry: e.g. optimize supply chains and freight routes
  5. Farms & Forests: e.g. enable automated afforestation
  6. Carbon Dioxide Removal: e.g. optimize direct air capture (DAC)
  7. Climate Prediction: e.g. forecast extreme events
  8. Societal Impacts: e.g. improve disaster relief and food security
  9. Solar Geoengineering: e.g. assess impacts of geoengineering
  10. Individual Action: e.g. understand personal carbon footprints
  11. Education: e.g. develop personalized education tools
  12. Finance: e.g. predict the financial effects of climate change

Climate change is the greatest challenge of our time. In recent years, the technologies and applications of AI have made enormous progress. Many technologies are already available and can be used for highly effective solutions against the pressing problems of climate protection.

There is currently great business potential for entrepreneurs who want to make a difference.

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Jan van Essen

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How to build the future? Impact stories for Health & Sustainability · Innovation for Good · Rethinking the way we live · Deep Learning & Tech Strategist

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