As vaccines bring hope of an end to a brutal pandemic,  partners of the 2021 ‘AI for the Planet’ summit warn that digital technologies and machine learning can no longer be left out of the conversation on building a more sustainable and equitable planet. They say the technology can be used to assist the public in embracing more sustainable practices and making better consumption choices.

UNEP officials say the world has 10 years to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals but cannot adequately measure its progress against 68 percent of their environmental indicators. Executive Director Inger Anderson says AI, big data and technology can help to fill that gap.

“How do we use digital solutions to drive sustainability and to create a world that is circulator, regenerative and inclusive and where we know how we are tracking and measuring where we are falling behind?” asked Anderson, adding that, “UNEP is just beginning to support and scale environmental change through the digital architecture.”

The virtual summit explored the role of AI in helping nations achieve the goal of limiting the increase in global average temperatures to well below 2°C pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C. From providing real-time, reliable data on emissions to focusing on disaster prevention, the partners say AI is a critical yet underused tool in protecting the planet and securing a more sustainable future.

Read the full article about AI and climate change by Alison Kentish at Inter Press Service.