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How AI Can Even the Climate Playing Field

The deep inequities that have long hampered international climate talks could soon be reduced substantially. With AI co-pilots, climate negotiators from low-income countries would be able to assess the implications of draft agreements for their own country’s laws, capacities, and interests in real time.

CAMBRIDGE – With the world on track to exceed 1.5° Celsius of warming in the next decade, we can expect climate hazards to intensify, driving millions more into famine, causing trillions of dollars in damage, and disproportionately harming those countries that contributed the least to the problem. Worse, a global biodiversity crisis is upon us: ecosystems are being eroded to the point of collapse, and species extinctions are accelerating at a frightening pace. Here, too, the poor are disproportionately affected.

To address this dual crisis at the pace and scale needed, the international community must change its approach. Historically, global agreements to address climate change and biodiversity loss have been negotiated separately, even though the two issues are closely interlinked. Moreover, the process has been marred by structural disparities, power imbalances, and prioritization of national and commercial interests over the global common good.

Neither human societies nor the natural systems that support them can work well in silos. Complex, dynamic interacting challenges require solutions based on systems thinking and a full accounting of all the data. But the relevant data sets are massive and undergo constant change. We cannot possibly navigate them on our own. We need a co-pilot.

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