Using artificial intelligence (AI) to better manage the environment could reduce greenhouse gas emissions in 2030 by 4%.
That’s the verdict from PwC UK, which highlights this would total an amount equivalent to 2.4 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide, comparable to the 2030 annual emissions of Australia, Canada and Japan combined.
The professional services firm says AI applications in the agriculture, water, energy and transport sectors could slash associated environmental impacts by optimising energy use and creating new business models.
The report notes it could have the biggest emissions impact in the energy and transport industries by enabling a reduction in energy use and automating manual and routine tasks, which in combination could lower energy emissions per unit of GDP by up to 8% in 2030.
It also finds AI technologies could improve health, suggesting that more accurate and localised early warning systems for air pollution could save an estimated $2.4 billion (£1.8bn) in reduced medical costs.
PwC also says smart learning technologies could boost global GDP by up to $5 trillion (£3.8tn) and create up to 38 million jobs by 2030.
Celine Herweijer, Global Sustainability leader at PwC UK said: “Technology firms and industry alike will need to champion responsible technology practices, considering social, environmental impact and long term value creation.
“What is clear is that the companies and countries that fare best will be those that embrace the simultaneous changes and reinforcing opportunities of the AI era and the transition to sustainable economies.”
Earlier this year INEOS accused the government of using “politically expedient, slippery backdoor manoeuvres” to end the fracking industry.