Artificial intelligence (AI) will “accelerate” action on sustainable energy and ensure that in the next five years “more than half of the tipping points for crucial green technologies will have been met” according to a report published today (20 January 2023) by the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics and Political Science and Systemiq. 

‘The global growth story of the 21st century: driven by investment and innovation in green technologies and artificial intelligence’, was written by Nicholas Stern, Chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and Mattia Romani, a partner at Systemiq.

It states that “the deployment of low-carbon technologies is accelerating, with key technologies expected to reach tipping points before 2030 —which in turn will trigger their scaling-up to mass market.”  

Tipping points exist when a set of conditions are reached that allow new technologies or practices to out-compete incumbents.After a tipping point is crossed, reinforcing feedback loops take hold that drive self-reinforcing progress, so that greater deployment of the solution encourages even faster deployment.

The publication includes data detailing that light road transport, fugitive emissions, building heating, food and agriculture, trucking and aviation are all expected to reach tipping points by 2025. Trucking, aviation, land use change, shipping, steel, and cement are all predicted to reach tipping points by 2030.

The authors outline, that the “large-scale deployment of low-carbon technologies, enabled and accelerated by artificial intelligence and digital enablers, will transform energy, transport, production, built environment, land-use and ocean systems over the next 25 years.”

In the publication, the authors detail how AI has the potential “to boost general intelligence, accelerate tipping points and the deployment of breakthrough technologies across economic sectors—such as fusion and solar, quantum chemistry, alternative protein design and many others.”

They authors also cover how “drivers of the technology transformation, such as AI, will also redraw the map over time. While industrial location in the past was shaped by endowments of coal, oil, iron ore, and other raw materials relative to demand markets, future choices—factoring in the possibilities of direct and indirect electrification of industrial processes—will give greater weight to the availability of reliable, low-cost, low-volatility renewable power.”

Stern and Romani drew on a new report, which is published today (20 January 2023), “The Breakthrough Effect: How to trigger a cascade of tipping points to accelerate the net zero transition”, which has been produced by an international team including Systemiq and the University of Exeter, and is a contribution to Systems Change Lab convened by the Bezos Earth Fund and World Resources Institute.

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