There is no longer any credible reason to deny our part in the climate crisis. We are now facing the destruction of vital ecosystems, and every year 12.6 million people die because of environmental pollution. Cutting edge smart city technologies may be our most useful weapon in the fight against the climate crisis, helping us to reduce our impact on the planet in future, and alleviate the damage we have already done. Part two of this series will focus on how smart cities can help us tackle the looming climate crisis, and which technologies will be used to ensure cities continue to be sustainable as our planet and population dramatically change. Once we have planned out cities that are adaptable and better suited to our needs, we can start implementing smart technologies to overhaul unsustainable utilities, transport and energy systems.
Editor's Note: This is the first in a four-part series examining the growing role of machine learning and artificial intelligence in the power sector. Tomorrow, we look at how regional grid operators are using AI to optimize operations. The future of the electric grid is undoubtedly cleaner and more efficient and distributed, with hefty doses of technology and machine learning helping to operate it all. But if you're expecting a system dramatically transformed, experts say you'll be left waiting. Artificial intelligence and machine learning are already helping utilities run their networks more efficiently, extending the life of equipment and helping to dispatch energy into markets more efficiently.
For scale, consider the Statue of Liberty, standing 305 feet tall. At 466 feet, the average wind turbine in the U.S. dwarfs Lady Liberty by more than half. And when GE's next-generation monster wind turbine, the Haliade-X, hits the market in 2021, it will nearly double that size to 877 feet, just shy of the Eiffel Tower. A single Haliade-X rotor blade will stretch 315 feet, longer than a football field. As a general rule of thumb, when it comes to energy and energy exploration, bigger is better: the larger the machinery, the deeper the dig, the greater the production yield.
Governments, investors and business leaders need to adopt practical solutions that can be deployed across the world at scale. The arrival of 5G along with wider adoption of AI technology into the physical world will make it possible to substantially enhance the opportunities to scale cleaner energy generation technologies, enable efficiency gains in manufacturing, our homes, retail stores, offices and transportation that will enable substantial reductions in pollution. Policies that incentivise the accelerated development and deployment of Industry 4.0 solutions will require politicians and regulators to better understand the opportunities that 5G alongside AI will enable. The OECD published a paper "What works in Innovation Policy" and observed that "Policies ignoring or resisting the industrial transition have proven to be not just futile but result in an innovative disadvantage and weak economic performance." Entering the new year will allow us to develop and deploy solutions for the 2020s that make use of the next industrial revolution with 5G and AI to enable dramatic efficiency gains across all sectors of the economy and to enhance renewable energy generation. The emergence of India, China and others as industrial economic powers is occurring at a time when we now know the damage that such pollution causes and hence there is a need to work together, collaboratively to solve a global problem. Embracing technological change and enhancing its capabilities to deliver better living standards alongside sustainable development is the best option for those who really want to make an impact on climate change at scale in the 2020s and beyond. I wish to thank Henry Derwent, former advisor to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and former CEO of IETA for his efforts to promote technological innovation and scaled up financing with Green Bonds.
For good reason, plenty of people are worried about the quantities of carbon dioxide (CO2) that are being pumped into the atmosphere. Since the early 1800s, scientists have known that greenhouse gases in the atmosphere trap heat, causing the effect we now know as global warming. CO2 is a particularly big contributor to this problem. Created as a result of the burning of fuels like oil and natural gas, CO2 makes up the overwhelming majority of greenhouse gas emissions. It represents around 72% of the total, compared to 18% methane and 9% nitrous oxide.