Climate Change Negotiations Could Be Empowered by AI

Climate change negotiations and agreements could be more focused and geared toward using an artificial intelligence model built on real-world data.

Governments, organizations and other bodies have committed over the past decade to reducing, or in some cases zeroing, emissions over the next 10 to 50 years to avoid the worst climate change projections.

Because there is no single entity responsible for these emissions reduction agreements, policy goals may be misaligned or inconsistent with a country’s or organization’s economic structure, leading to poor bottom line results.

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The AI ​​for Global Climate Cooperation, founded and funded by Salesforce and the Mila Quebec Academic Research Center, aims to improve climate change negotiations and agreements through the use of a machine learning climate economics simulator.

This machine learning simulator, called RICE-N, considers real-world data on investments, mitigation, international trade, tariffs, negotiations, and agreements, among others. This will enable politicians and decision-makers to make better-informed decisions to tackle the climate crisis.

The collaboration group is looking for people from many disciplines, including AI researchers, economists, climate scientists and behavioral scientists, to contribute to the implementation of the model. It is also looking for ethical, legal and policy experts to help shape the analysis and communication of the results of the AI ​​model.

“We plan to form a diverse working group of interested contestants – particularly teams whose results are of sufficient scientific or political novelty,” said Stephan Zheng, principal investigator at Salesforce Research. “The working group will write a research paper based on the results of the competition. This work will be submitted to a peer-reviewed journal and subjected to rigorous scientific and ethical use testing. Following this, when appropriate insights are available, we intend to produce a Policy Brief with actionable insights for policymakers to be disseminated and promoted by our partners. We also plan to organize a marketing campaign around the results of the competition.”

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The use of artificial intelligence for climate change has been strongly promoted in some circles, with 87 percent of climate and AI leaders believing it is vital in the fight against climate change, according to a report by AI for the Planet Alliance in collaboration with of the Boston Consulting Group. However, in the same report, only 40 percent of respondents can imagine AI being used in their own field to reduce climate change.

This speaks to a technical difficulty in governments and industries, as AI is seen as a nifty tool that can be useful somewhere, but not seen by decision makers as useful in their own area of ​​expertise. Without collaboration between engineers, researchers, and other AI advocates and decision makers, this knowledge gap will continue to be evident.