Can AI Help Us Climate Change? A Review of the Current Apps

Introduction

Can AI Help Us Climate Change is one of the most pressing challenges of our time. It is caused by the increase of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere, mainly due to human activities such as burning fossil fuels, deforestation, and agriculture. Climate change has serious consequences for the environment, human health, and society, such as rising temperatures, melting ice caps, sea level rise, extreme weather events, biodiversity loss, food insecurity, and social unrest .

How can we tackle this global problem? One possible solution is to use artificial intelligence (AI) to help us reduce our GHG emissions, adapt to the changing climate, and mitigate the negative impacts. AI is a branch of computer science that aims to create machines and systems that can perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as understanding language, recognizing images, or making decisions. AI can offer various benefits for addressing climate change, such as enhancing efficiency, optimizing resources, enabling innovation, and empowering people .

But how can we use AI Can AI Help Us Climate Change? In this blog post, we will review some of the current apps that use AI to help us combat climate change. We will look at how these apps use AI to help us measure, monitor, reduce, or offset our carbon footprint, and how they can help us live more sustainably and responsibly.

Apps that help us measure our carbon footprint

One of the first steps to fight climate change is to measure our carbon footprint, which is the amount of GHGs that we emit directly or indirectly through our activities, such as transportation, energy, food, or consumption. By measuring our carbon footprint, we can understand our impact on the environment, and identify the areas where we can reduce our emissions.

There are several apps that use AI to help us measure our carbon footprint, such as:

  • JouleBug: JouleBug is an app that uses gamification and social features to help users track and improve their sustainability habits. Users can earn points, badges, and rewards for taking actions that reduce their carbon footprint, such as biking, recycling, or eating local. JouleBug uses AI to analyze users’ behavior and provide personalized feedback and suggestions on how to save money and energy.
  • Capture: Capture is an app that helps users measure and reduce their carbon footprint from transportation. Users can connect the app to their location services, and the app will automatically track and calculate their emissions from different modes of transport, such as car, bus, train, or plane. Capture uses AI to provide users with insights and tips on how to lower their emissions, such as choosing public transport, carpooling, or offsetting.
  • Almond: Almond is an app that helps users measure and reduce their carbon footprint from consumption. Users can scan the barcodes of the products they buy, and the app will show them the carbon impact of each product, as well as the ethical and environmental ratings of the brands. Almond uses AI to provide users with alternatives and recommendations on how to switch to more sustainable products and brands.

Apps that help us monitor the climate

Another step to fight climate change is to monitor the climate, which is the average weather conditions over a long period of time, such as temperature, precipitation, wind, or humidity. By monitoring the climate, we can observe the changes and trends, and predict the future scenarios and impacts. Monitoring the climate can also help us raise awareness and inform decision-making on climate action.

There are several apps that use AI to help us monitor the climate, such as:

  • Climate from Space: Climate from Space is an app that allows users to explore the climate data from the European Space Agency’s (ESA) satellites. Users can view and interact with various climate variables, such as sea level, carbon dioxide, or ozone, and see how they have changed over time and space. Climate from Space uses AI to process and visualize the massive amounts of satellite data in an accessible and engaging way.
  • Climate Signals: Climate Signals is an app that connects the dots between extreme weather events and climate change. Users can browse and search for different types of events, such as heat waves, floods, or wildfires, and see how they are influenced by or linked to climate change. Climate Signals uses AI to analyze and synthesize the scientific literature and data on the attribution and impacts of climate change.
  • Tomorrow: Tomorrow is an app that shows users the carbon intensity of the electricity they use, and how it varies depending on the time and location. Users can see the real-time and forecasted carbon emissions of the electricity grid in their area, and how they are affected by the weather and the energy sources. Tomorrow uses AI to model and predict the carbon intensity of the electricity, and to provide users with suggestions on when and how to use electricity more efficiently.

Apps that help us reduce or offset our carbon footprint

The ultimate step to fight climate change is to reduce or offset our carbon footprint, which means to decrease the amount of GHGs that we emit or to compensate for the emissions that we cannot avoid. By reducing or offsetting our carbon footprint, we can contribute to the global goal of limiting the global warming to well below 2°C, as agreed in the Paris Agreement.

There are several apps that use AI to help us reduce or offset our carbon footprint, such as:

  • Ecosia: Ecosia is a search engine that uses its profits to plant trees around the world. Users can search the web as usual, and the app will show them how many trees they have helped plant with their searches. Ecosia uses AI to optimize its search algorithm and its tree-planting projects, and to ensure its carbon-negative operation.
  • Wren: Wren is an app that helps users offset their carbon footprint by funding verified projects that reduce or remove GHGs from the atmosphere, such as forest restoration, clean energy, or regenerative agriculture. Users can calculate their carbon footprint, choose a project to support, and track the impact of their contribution. Wren uses AI to estimate users’ emissions, select and evaluate the projects, and measure the outcomes.
  • Oroeco: Oroeco is an app that helps users reduce their carbon footprint by making more sustainable choices in their everyday life, such as food, travel, or shopping. Users can track their carbon footprint, compare it with others, and earn rewards for taking actions that lower their impact. Oroeco uses AI to calculate users’ emissions, provide personalized feedback and tips, and gamify the experience.

What are some other ways to fight climate change?

There are many other ways to fight climate change, besides using AI. Some of them are:

  • Buy and grow local food. Local food reduces the emissions from transportation, storage, and processing of food, and supports local farmers and communities. You can also grow your own food in your garden or balcony, and compost your organic waste.
  • Use renewable energy and energy-efficient appliances. Renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind, or hydro, do not emit GHGs and can reduce your dependence on fossil fuels. You can also use energy-efficient appliances, such as LED bulbs, smart thermostats, or low-flow showerheads, to save energy and money.
  • Insulate your home. Insulating your home can help you keep it warm in winter and cool in summer, and reduce the need for heating and cooling. You can also use curtains, blinds, or shades to block the sunlight and heat in summer, and let it in in winter.
  • Nurture soils and grasslands. Soils and grasslands store large amounts of carbon and support biodiversity and food security. You can help protect and restore them by avoiding overgrazing, using organic fertilizers, planting cover crops, or joining conservation initiatives.
  • Run for office or support candidates who care about climate change. Political action is essential to fight climate change, as it can influence policies, regulations, and investments that affect GHG emissions and adaptation. You can run for office yourself, or support candidates who have a strong climate agenda.
  • Explore high- and low-tech ways to capture greenhouse gases. There are various technologies and methods that can capture GHGs from the air or from the sources, and store them underground or use them for other purposes. Some examples are carbon capture and storage, biochar, or direct air capture.

Conclusion

AI can be a powerful tool to help us fight climate change, by helping us measure, monitor, reduce, or offset our carbon footprint. They can help us understand our impact on the environment, and identify the areas where we can improve. AI can also help us observe the changes and trends in the climate, and predict the future scenarios and impacts. AI can also help us take action to reduce or compensate for our emissions, and live more sustainably and responsibly.

However, AI is not a magic bullet, and it also has some limitations and challenges. AI can also have a carbon footprint itself, depending on the data and the hardware it uses. AI can also have ethical and social implications, such as privacy, fairness, or accountability. Therefore, we need to use AI responsibly and wisely, and ensure that it is aligned with our values and goals.

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