Climate scientists are calling for responsible use of AI after Google's emissions increased by 48% since 2019.

Applications of AI

Scientists are urging people to think carefully before using AI to generate memes.


Three years ago, Google set out an ambitious plan to tackle climate change by achieving “net zero” by 2030, meaning it will emit no more climate-changing gases into the atmosphere than it removes.

But a report released by the company on Tuesday said it's far from reaching that goal.

Instead of decreasing, emissions are projected to increase by 13% in 2023 compared to the previous year. Compared to the base year of 2019, emissions have soared by 48%.

Google Quotes artificial intelligence Last year's growth was driven by AI and increased demand for power-hungry data centers.

Producing electricity through combustion coal Alternatively, natural gas emits greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane, which warm the planet and cause extreme weather.

The company is a recognized leader in implementing some of the most significant climate change initiatives in its industry.

Net zero by 2030: 'an extremely ambitious goal'

Lisa Sachs, director of the Columbia Center for Sustainable Investment, said Google should partner with clean companies and invest in environmentally friendly businesses. Power grid.

“The reality is that in terms of moving forward with the transition, we're way behind where we can be with the technology and resources we have today,” she said.

“Achieving this goal is a big step,” Google's chief sustainability officer, Kate Brandt, told The Associated Press. Net Zero Goal This is a very ambitious goal for 2030.

“We know this won't be easy, and our approach will need to continue to evolve,” Brandt added. “It will require navigating many uncertainties, including uncertainty about the future of AI.” Environmental impact.”

How is AI contributing to climate change?

Some experts say the rapid expansion of data centers Power AI threatens the entire transition to clean electricity, a key part of tackling climate change, because new data centers could delay the closure of fossil fuel-burning power plants or encourage the construction of new ones.

Data centers not only consume a lot of energy, they also require high-voltage power lines. niceIt's noisy.

These plants are often built where electricity prices are lowest, rather than in places where renewable energy sources like wind and solar are the primary energy source.

global Data Centres According to the International Energy Agency, electricity demand from AI could double by 2026.

The sustainability plans of other big tech companies are also being challenged by the proliferation of data centers. MicrosoftIn its May environmental sustainability report, the company projected emissions would increase 29% from a 2020 baseline.

Can AI also help solve climate change?

Technology companies are arguing that AI, including tools like ChatGPT, is not only partially causing climate change, help To deal with it.

For Google, it's data It can predict future floods or streamline traffic flow to save gas.

“The climate crisis is a big one,” said Amanda Smith, a senior scientist at the climate nonprofit Project Drawdown. artificial intelligence Big corporations and individuals who simply create memes need to act responsibly, which means using energy only when it benefits society.


“It's up to us as humans to look at how we're using it and ask why we're doing it,” Smith added. “If there's value, we can make sure those demands are met by clean sources.” Power.”

Does Google use renewable electricity?

GoogleThe company's emissions increased last year in part because of its increased energy use: Emissions increased by 25,910 gigawatt-hours, up from the previous year and more than double the amount of energy it consumed just four years earlier. One gigawatt-hour is roughly the amount of energy released in an hour by a power plant that powers hundreds of thousands of homes.

On the positive side, as Google spends more, Renewable electricity.

The company said it will meet huge demand in 2020. electricity It aims to use only clean energy every hour of every day worldwide by 2030. Google says its data centers and offices worldwide used an average of 64 percent carbon-free energy last year. The company says its data centers are, on average, 1.8 times more energy efficient than the rest of the industry.

Columbia University's Sachs said Google ambition She said she hopes Google will join a more rigorous discussion about how to accelerate clean energy amid the climate crisis so that improvements can start happening before things get worse.


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