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Is Artificial Intelligence Contributing to the World’s Energy Demands? | National News

The Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Climate Emissions

The Rise of Artificial Intelligence and its Impact on Climate Change

Google’s recent announcement about its climate emissions rising by 48 percent since 2019 has brought attention to the role of artificial intelligence in the tech industry. With US tech firms expanding their data centers globally, the energy consumption of AI technologies is under scrutiny for its environmental impact.

AI applications require significant amounts of electricity at every stage, from developing large language models to processing user requests in data centers. The International Energy Agency (IEA) reported that data centers consume about 40 percent of electricity on computing and another 40 percent on cooling, highlighting the energy-intensive nature of AI technologies.

Experts are raising concerns about the surge in electricity usage as tech companies integrate AI into their products. The shift to AI services requires more power compared to traditional systems, with studies showing that AI processes can use ten times more power than a single Google search. This increase in energy consumption is further exacerbated by the development and utilization of large language models, which demand high-powered computer chips and additional cooling systems.

The global energy demand of data centers, cryptocurrencies, and AI combined reached 460 TWh in 2022, nearly two percent of total global electricity usage. Projections suggest that this figure could double by 2026, equivalent to the electricity consumption of Japan. Researcher Alex De Vries estimated that AI alone could consume between 85.4–134.0 TWh annually, comparable to the electricity usage of entire countries like Argentina or Sweden.

As data centers adapt to the growing demand for AI services, companies are exploring renewable energy sources to reduce their carbon footprints. Amazon, Google, and Microsoft have committed to achieving net-zero carbon emissions in the coming years, despite reporting increases in greenhouse gas emissions linked to AI technologies.

While AI advancements continue to revolutionize industries, the environmental impact of escalating energy consumption poses challenges for sustainability efforts. As tech giants work towards greener practices, the intersection of AI and climate change remains a critical issue for the future.

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