AI is likely to increase energy use

1 min read

Artificial intelligence is unlikely to help solve the climate crisis but rather will cause rising energy use, according to new research from a group of European environmental groups.

AI has been promoted as a way to help tackle global heating, via tools capable of tracking extreme weather events for example and, unsurprisingly, last year Google released a report that claimed AI could cut global emissions by as much as 10%.

Green groups have now challenged those claims warning that the amount of energy that will need to be consumed by AI over the coming years, with the prospect of a doubling of data centres to help keep pace with the industry, will cause an 80% increase in planet-heating emissions.

In the US, for example, coal-fired power plants are already being kept open longer to meet the rising energy demands of complex AI operations – generating AI queries could require as much as 10 times the computing power as a regular online search.

While the report suggests that AI does have a role in combating climate change it warns that while data centres will certainly become more efficient, carbon emissions are still expected to go up.

The report calls for much better transparency about AI energy use and urges companies to be far more open about their AI energy use.