Exploring AI/advanced technologies to address climate change | Yael Rozencwajg and Yangbo Du
Exploring artificial intelligence advanced technologies to address climate change. This is a prerecorded version you can find the full agenda of the conference on http://eces2022.neu.edu.tr. First of all I would like to thank the Near East University for inviting me to this prestigious conference, and more particularly to Mr Bolouri and the president of the conference Professor Dr Gökçekuş. I take this opportunity to wish everybody celebrating Happy Holidays excellent health and happiness. My name is Yael Rozencwajg and I am the founder and CEO of Nevelab Technologies and the Road to Sustainability.
I'm also the chair of the IEEE standards AI/S wellbeing initiative and board advisor at growing startups. A case study will follow this keynote presented by Mr Yangbo Du, a member of the road to sustainability and managing partner Investments at Innovo and then a Q&A between us. The road to Sustainability is an inclusive network focused on enhancing sustainable communities you can find us on all social channels and the http://roadtosustainability.com. Nevelab is a purpose-driven platform that leverages artificial intelligence to provide organization with the tools to integrate sustainable imperatives while generating actionable insights you can find us on http://nevelab.com. Greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced by nearly half by 2030 and then to
Zero by mid-century to avoid the worst effects of the climate change. Hundreds of organizations and countries have joined the pledge. Apple 2030. Amazon 2040. The US 2050 and China 2060. Yes but many Net Zero commitments are either Limited in scope or to a goal that the company has yet to figure out how to achieve. Hope is not a strategy. Transparency won't solve the problem and most road maps fail. We don't know how much is achievable today versus what require different technologies. We need to understand the current state of climate change clearly the near future may be divided into two distinct phases title monetary policy. High inflation and slowing growth will continue into 2023 necessitating careful investment positioning. However the good news is once's real interest rates
peak, the economic cycle will shift creating opportunities to increase risk asset allocations with the Russia-Ukraine war continuing an economic uncertainty looming organizations must be prepared for increased threats yet the ongoing crisis presents opportunities more than ever it's time to look for innovative solutions alternative energy sources and different supply forms. Three perspectives to slow down greenhouse gas emissions for climate-focused goals. Strategies and activities. New financial solutions: moderate inflation for more productivity gains. New business opportunities: support new measures to ease the burden of those most affected. New tech systems: emphasize the technological revolution. Incentives are needed to encourage the sustainability transition but a large part of this transition the energy the environmental transition is inflationary what is needed next for the world to unleash the state on the climate crisis climate adaptation helping people animals and plants to survive despite Rising climate volatility climate resilience and mitigation the result will be a more robust World economy a robust implementation mechanism must back up commitments incentives for developing countries to prioritize new protection nature-based Solutions and credible Innovative financing to reinforce the systems allocate new models and channel funds to high value conservation projects here is what is needed cut emissions realign science-based targets control deforestation more risks more emerging Technologies there is no one size fits-all approach to climate change each company's policy will depend on its particular business and should mesh with its overall strategy the system must include initiatives for every company to mitigate climate related costs and risks in its value chain systemic changes and our ability to adapt to Evolution requires us to move the needle forward technology plays a critical role in our lives at the community local level the main Tech barriers to overcome for a more sustainable Planet are engagement awareness and adoption at the Enterprise organization level a simple view of the process could be research and development explore measure and manage to reduce negative impact through critical data market validation defined a mission and the purpose to enhance organizational capabilities producing at scale we want the value to support market demand for responsible economies what type of Technology do we need for what purpose what climate issue are we addressing if we use a SWOT model to help improve Capital knowledge and our Effectiveness what are our strengths weaknesses opportunities threats strengths bold leadership specific skills movement capacity building and diversity weaknesses lack of Legacy systems no inclusion and no ethics opportunities carbon Zero Energy Efficiency Supply Chain management threats uncertainty insecurity population in need our climate driven Tech can benefit our businesses by implementing climate driven Solutions at the core of our systems Financial Services reporting productivity growth Healthcare software and Hardware manufacturing logistic and supply chain retail distribution and optimization public sector safety and urbanization considering that companies can use critical data operations leadership core values and progress to address the growing challenge knowing that the world population is now at 8 billion people 25 of the world population is about to face a Warner crisis severe food insecurity at 276 million people and knowing that 1.6 billion people living in adequate housing conditions a hundred million
people in extreme poverty due to health expenses the end of the beginning learning to live with complexity artificial intelligence and ethics organizations have made great strides in running complex systems even big ones by researching breakdowns and adapting accordingly yet they have made less progress in running complex systems that defy conventional modeling and put traditional management practices to the test leaders must use better tools to predict how these systems will behave data-driven tools that can help understand numerous elements constant interactions and the impact of uncertainty complex organizations are much more challenging to handle than simple ones it is more difficult to to predict what will occur because complex Legacy systems interact unpredictably it is harder to make sense of things because complexity May exceed cognitive capabilities machine learning and NLP have the potential to help address the most significant societal challenges of our time from climate change to caring for an aging Society however responsible technology adoption is emperored by several impediments including poor data quality and governance issues which undermine public confidence in the institutions they rely on moreovers complex systems are imbued by data that may be managed in patent ways but whose interactions are continually changing three properties determine the complexity of data-driven environments multiplicity interoperability diversity multiplicity refers to the potential interacting data in the system in a general sense interoperability is defined by the ability of two or more systems to exchange data understand the exchange data now and use the data meaningfully for the purpose it was intended in a meaningful and secure way diversity has to do with the degree of their heterogeneity to prevent biases some answers generated by chat GDP foreign of unsustainable processes in a particular ecosystem May destroy the whole ecosystem thank you case study presented by Mr yangbodu a member of the road to sustainability and managing partner Investments at inovo yep excellent then so again um thank you very much and for those of you uh new to this uh yeah and I've been collaborating since late 2020 when the road to sustainability series first ticked off with the focus on presenting a more comprehensive and systemic perspective on sustainability resilience and other means of addressing the poly crisis that we're facing today it's not just climate but we're also dealing with socio-economic inequalities biodiversity laws agriculture Walter how all of those issues are very interrelated so at first to really give a very high level approach about this is to reframe the climate conversation while it's very important that we do keep in mind things like temperature rise and affects climate hazards and whatnot those more acute those more measurable and tangible impacts what's very important for us is to consider that it's part of a much bigger systemic challenge about transitioning from a once through economy where you effectively accept that there will be waste material there will be refuse that you're going to dispose of and then rather treating that as waste treat that as assets say what opportunity is there so that's fundamentally what the circular economy is about and as far as the climate the emergency and poly crises are concerned that means a circular carbon economy so for example right now you have three quarters of global emissions coming from fossil fuels now what if those emissions can then be converted into something useful for example by fertilizer that can then be used to restore soils so improve soil carbon sequestration thus boosting crop yields also helping restore natural vegetation so potentially the power generation plants whether coal oil and steel as well as coil and gas or heavy Industries like steel aluminum cement anything else glass you name it like all of those that are very difficult to decarbonize today because they require a lot just a lot of electricity but also of processed heat that what if they then become part of the solution by turning what it's emitted into fertilizer it could also be turned into graphene and hydrogen as well graphene for Advanced Materials it's like you can call it the Silicon of the 21st Century as well as hydrogen for energy storage and carriage and the right now as we're currently positioned I'm most active with this group but innovo Net Zero we work with large corporates as well as governments in the public sector to achieve a net zero profitably and cost effectively and what better way to achieve problem at zero than turning what would be a waste stream that either emit or otherwise have to pump deep underground Department storage what if then you use that as valuable raw material that would then go on and address things like potential like a looming crisis around soil depletion that's going to be arriving by the 2040s 2050s given excess use of traditional fertilizer which depletes the soil and contrast as we mentioned earlier with biofertilizer with carbon-based fertilizer actually then enhances the soil quality and the conditions and in particular the main area focus is obviously the Mediterranean surrounding areas given that it has had the longest one of the longest histories of any place in the world of Millennia of degradation of human settlements so now with the future of human settlement region if that then becomes instead of extractive and depletive it actually becomes regenerative so you could think of this as an intentional anthropicing in one way or another in which what we're now doing is restoring that balance within the carbon cycle whereas during the industrial era emissions have far exceeded the amount that can be sequestered from natural habitats and other natural ecosystems sinks so now if we stopped restoring those ecosystems it's not just about reducing the emissions because even if we aggressively build out Renewables as fast as possible given what I mentioned earlier about the demands of heavy industry that's only going to get us halfway to Net Zero by 2050. so we actually have to enhance the sequestration capacity as well and what best to what better way to do that than to actually position heavy industry as part of the solution from one of the most in traffic climate problems to one of the most potent climate Solutions so um that's the high level overview of really where we need to be pushing things in the remaining seven years of this decade of action and delivery so thank you very much thank you youngbo and thank you for this uh for providing us with you know so much perspective I just want to get back to some points that we've shared earlier um and and try to format um how can we Define uh the circular carbon economy um I think you've mentioned that exactly over the past few weeks and what about this yes so if you're defining a circular economy the most fundamental principle is that you have designed waste out of the system so that every co-product is used in one way or another and a case study that uh recently again just thanks to interest from places like India and quite a number of other high growth regions of the world that I've been using is that let's say for those of you who've traveled there just north of Delhi there is a large landfill called the Boswell landfill and you can see it if you're driving on the highway north of Delhi it's one of the most visible landmarks in the area so in terms of a circular Colony approach within the landfill you have plenty of both organic and inorganic matter that can actually be utilized so for one is let's say if you take those streams out you have your inorganic matter which then can be manufactured we have the technology available today to manufacture cement and other building materials from that matter and then when you're left the organic matter if you have Technologies like gasifiers like all of those they're very well established Technologies just need greater deployment then you can convert that into things like if you have pure carbon well you have graphene obviously but also then from the syngas the carbon monoxide hydrogen mix then you can also make uh biofertilizer and biochar at the same time both help with soil sequestration as well as hydrogen for energy storage and carriage so that's just one example of what you start with at everything is refuse and how every component of that refuse stream can actually be no matter what no matter how it's configured it can be turned into a valuable material for heavy industry excellent and that leads us um to to the future of asset allocation because we found that um and I personally mentioned that also over my last uh reviews how do we manage the different types of opportunities that occur right now instead of having them as you mentioned as considering the waste management with much more about opportunity management um all these all this future that is is yet to be done is yet to be defined how how can we at least you know provide a few highlights well um it's really a good sum it up by the phrase hidden treasure essentially that's what it is and it's it can be applied in multiple contexts and connotations here so we've already went over how a very problematic waste stream which is CO2 emissions from combustion Health that can be turned into something that is restorative that is regenerative in a form of biochar Bio fertilizer also graphene hydrogen all those streams and let's zoom out a bit let's take it a bit more broadly that it's not just that there have been over much oversight of these potential it's not waste streams but these value streams actually that's how we should be referring to these value streams not just on the physical environmental aspect but also if you go into the area of just the financial system very broadly so one of a key case in point is the concept of public wealth um for those who haven't either haven't read the books uh public wealth of cities or public Nations or any of the papers he's co-authored by gentleman doc the other highly recommended reading yeah we'll have I think um in the in the chat with at the different uh resources links exactly yeah so for sure so what uh basically in short is that around the world what has been happening for so long is that not all but many governments have been neglecting what is the highest best use of their real assets especially their real estate so that's another example of there's um a lot of being having a lot of opportunity there so for example take the UK as an example that in the 1980s until the global financial crisis for this whole quarter Century the UK sold off over 400 billion pounds worth of its public assets yeah your private hands for only Pence on the pound so that's how much poorer the general public the public in the UK had gotten because they had no idea that those assets were actually worth that much that for example let's say you have land that's owned by a city government or a national subnational government that is undervalued because it's relatively marginal it may have been recently used for heavy industry it may have been docs that have been disused because of changes in shipping technology for example but because they did not know what is a validated they were not aware that this can be redeveloped into things like social housing it can be used to really make the city center make the urban core more vibrant make it more inclusive that you can actually bring broader economic value to it you just end up selling off without knowledge of had they kept it and been able to leverage it redevelop it they would have gotten much greater value from it and one case study here is you have the city of Boston this is technically the point yeah and thank you for mentioning that I was discussing with one of our common friend um the other day about you know local communities um and the value that can be brought biodiversity inclusion sustainability and everything's that yeah exactly say the city of Boston for instance studies on their books they only had in the 2010s one and a half billion worth of assets yet if you were to Value the city's real estate holdings at highest best use yeah then their asset base would be 55 billion US Dollars wow so more than a 70-fold uh 30-fold increase on what their Book value is so which effectively means that with so many cities uh places thinking that they're insolvent they don't necessarily have to be it's that they just haven't been realizing they have not quite tapped into this proverbial people call it a gold mine that's right yeah indeed they're real assets that leads us directly to um and you mentioned that a bit earlier about fertile soils and everything that's related to the future of Agriculture and yeah I mean there is we can find innovative solutions and we've mentioned that and we can we can speak about values um on the go as we as we as we start looking at what is going to happen and what is happening currently in India what is happening currently in Africa with the soils but the the point here um I think everything seems to be pretty pretty combined um we we generally you know select the topics and we try to separate the different focuses but what I see is that more and more as we go through um as we go forward and and through the different cups I think there there are too many distinction and we need to to find out you know the the right balance to speak about the different challenges of the topic so what would be your take about fertile soils and in the future of Agriculture which is related to exactly what you said earlier yeah and all of that it has to be uh treated it can't be treated in isolation uh for sure since one of the biggest shortcomings lately of these copes so whether the biodiversity cup the climate cop any of those is that they have taken still despite efforts to be more comprehensive they're two big straw coming as number one are relatively siled approach to those matters um that if you're dealing with climate then of course you have to deal with biodiversity agriculture all of those that both are affected by climate action and also contribute to climate action at the same time so just you can't really think of them as Exclusive Calls in fact you have to think of them as a whole system of reinforcing and balancing Loops stocks and flows that's how you have to think of these things and secondly is the second big shortcoming is and this was even the sentiment I got in years ago um back in late 2018 at call 24 in kativiza when they happened there be there on site that much of a sentiment there was even then the sentiment was that we know what we need to be doing but you go first so what has still been very lacking and it's something I'm doing personally My Utmost to uh amend uh through my current efforts is that there has to be a lot stronger bias Focus push towards action because everything that we've laid out what needs to be done what tools are available what technology have you scaled right for years now um the big consulting firms big the national service providers they have been writing about these issues yet very few if any of them are actually positioned to act on any of this so that is a gap that seriously needs to be filled in and incidentally I just full disclosure I'm fortunate enough to be working with power of team who are aptly trying to fill that yeah that's that's why we're trying to do and thank you for mentioning that I think that to move the needle we really need you know movements from the bottom up instead of waiting for decision makers to to make the state um the first step but that that's also I think a problem of Education that we pointed out a couple of years ago already when we when we first discussed um about the road to sustainability and my my my my my my my my last question um what do you think about this uh this cup to 15 uh cup 15 uh with the biodiversity targets that were defined um and uh and adopted yesterday actually yeah exactly so with the cop of Team what's crucial to realize is that and that this is actually why um my impression is that how so many well-meaning people have set themselves up for disappointment because they there's this tendency and I can see this and I don't blame anyone for this because of the urgency of those matters that we have to only seven years till the 2030 deadline around the global goals obviously maybe even shorter for climate hence why it's the most urgent but there's this tendency to treat things as once and done try to do as much or at once whereas a much more effective approach is first to focus on treat this as an ongoing process that there's going to be another cope um cop 15 in say on biodiversity 16 there will be a cop 28 coming up in the year on climate uh of course the regional convenings as well around the task force on nature-based natural disclosures like they're all of these processes the ongoing so treat each of these as steps in a much longer much more comprehensive process so you don't have a variety of movement yeah absolutely disappointment there yeah and secondly is really to focus on the fact that it's not necessarily and more often than not it's not really the case that you're dealing with a system you're dealing with issues around the actual policies or regulations or codes or anything how they're written it's those aren't any less problematic what really is the low-hanging fruit here and at all levels no matter how low or high up on the decision-making hierarchy you're situated right is that how can what is existing how can existing policies rules Norms regulations how can they be interpreted and implemented differently because that's a big gap we're seeing is that you don't need it throughout the whole Playbook honestly that you just have to start with first this is what's there what can we start doing differently that just relies on reinterpretations or what's there because the truth is it's much more the case that it's less so that the rules and policies are the hindrance it's more so just human habits that things that we've been doing for decades and we're so accustomed to doing that often lose sight of how things can be done differently right fantastic thank you for this and um and being pointed um and all these highlights really important thank you youngbo um and and I look forward on the next session most definitely thank you