Smarter is Greener: How Artificial Intelligence Is Shaping Urban Climate Action

When it comes to climate change, cities are both places at risk and the sites most likely to produce innovative solutions. In respect to both this risk and opportunity, Michael Bloomberg has famously stated “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it”. Effective climate action in cities requires large amounts of data in order to manage emissions and build resilience.

In our current moment, artificial intelligence (AI) in cities has much less to do with flying cars, and much more to do with how we can get more value from the data currently being produced. AI allows for computer systems which sense, learn, and respond in accordance with programmed objectives. And given the existential threat posed by global climate change, and the increasing percentage of people living in cities, it is worth asking “what could we accomplish if those programmed objectives support urban climate action?”

In this edition of The Big Picture, our contributors have provided an excellent collection of opinion editorials to enhance a general understanding of what AI is, where it offers potential for climate action (in fields such as mobility, cleantech, and public services), and where it may pose consequences for society.