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Accelerating Sustainability with AI: A Playbook

 |  December 4, 2023

By: Brad Smith & Melanie Nakagawa (Microsoft On The Issues)

In the face of the urgent global environmental crisis, it is imperative for society to intensify its reliance on AI as a pivotal tool for propelling the world toward net-zero emissions, climate resilience, and a future that embraces the well-being of nature. However, as we navigate this path, it is equally crucial to establish robust guardrails that ensure the safe, secure, and equitable use of AI.

This year has borne witness to the unprecedented and tangible impacts of climate change, ranging from devastating wildfires to extreme weather events. The immediacy of these effects underscores the need for decisive and comprehensive action on a global scale. Addressing this crisis presents both an enormous challenge and an unparalleled opportunity for accelerating progress in combating climate change.

At Microsoft, our commitment to the well-being of the world aligns with our corporate success. Recognizing the critical juncture for environmental sustainability, we advocate for collaborative efforts involving government leaders, businesses, and civil society. Central to this collective endeavor is the utilization of every available tool, with AI standing out as a pivotal asset.

AI emerges as a crucial instrument in expediting the implementation of existing sustainability solutions and fostering the development of novel ones—doing so in a manner that is not only faster but also more cost-effective and efficient. This paper delves into the myriad opportunities that AI presents for advancing sustainability and underscores the imperative actions required to unlock its full potential in the pursuit of a sustainable future.