How AI Can Help Climate Change Combat in Africa

By Jordan Brame

As climate change intensifies across the world, impoverished nations in Africa are taking the brunt of the impact. The reality is that they are among the most ill-equipped countries in mitigating its effects. The economy of many African nations, like the majority of Third World countries, relies heavily on climate-dependent activities such as farming and tourism. This reflects the historical inequity between developed and developing countries, which magnifies the impact of climate change on the latter.

Thankfully, technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) are creating new opportunities in addressing the issue. iCog Labs previously discussed how decentralisation can provide African companies and governments access to AI tools. These tools may then be used to handle problems related to climate change.

For starters, AI can assist in the process of migrating to automated, efficient, and renewable energy sources. These efforts have already been started in countries like Norway, where AI-assisted systems manage decentralised power sources connected to a cloud-based software. The software collects data on power usage, analyses the data, and autonomously manages power distribution. This shows the country’s goal of reducing dependence on coal and oil while optimising renewable energy through AI at the same time. Norway aims to fulfill the European Renewables Directive and push their reliance on renewable energy sources to 67% by 2020. African nations, which have far more natural resources suitable for renewable energy production like wind and solar, are ripe for a similar revolution.

Courtesy of Pixabay

AI can also transform agriculture in Africa. In fact, initiatives on climate-smart agriculture have already been implemented in some parts of the continent, particularly in the southern regions of the Sahara. AI has been crucial in improving climate simulation models and crop yield simulation. Eventually, these solutions can be developed further into advanced applications, like those seen in India where AI is used to determine optimal sowing data and predict pest attacks. The first farmers who tried the AI methods in 2016 achieved a 30% increase in yield per hectare. Applying these practices in Africa can help in reducing its agriculture industry’s carbon footprint through conserving water and other resources.

Lastly, AI can bring positive changes to transportation, especially in terms of land vehicles. Within the industry, they give off the highest volume of greenhouse gas emissions. To counter this effect, AI can be used by transportation and logistics firms to improve fuel efficiency and operational performance. AI-assisted vehicles even allow drivers to accelerate in the most energy efficient manner, as explained by Kevin Bullis of MIT Technology Review. And in addition to reduced fuel costs, Verizon Connect details how truck tracking software can be used to monitor emissions. This info is invaluable for planning and implementing green initiatives for the entire sector. All of this can have huge effects across the board when applied on a larger scale.

In summary, AI provides a game-changing opportunity for Africa to be able to mitigate the effects of climate change. With private and public openness to the technology, reducing emissions and minimising energy usage is only a few steps away.

 

Editorial written exclusively for icog-labs.com, composed by Jordan Brame

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