From Climate Change AI Wiki
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This page is about the intersection of industrial systems and machine learning in the context of climate change mitigation. For an overview of industry as a whole, please see the Wikipedia page on this topic.
Selected opportunities to use machine learning to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in industry.
Industrial production, logistics, and building materials are leading causes of difficult-to-eliminate GHG emissions[1]. Fortunately for ML researchers, the global industrial sector spends billions of dollars annually gathering data on factories and supply chains[2] – aided by improvements in the cost and accessibility of cloud-based storage and computing, as well as sensors and data-gathering mechanisms such as QR codes and image recognition (vaguely referred to as "Industry 4.0" and "Smart/Connected Factories").

ML can potentially reduce industrial emissions by helping to streamline supply chains, invent cleaner materials and chemicals, design for fewer materials[3], improve production quality, predict machine breakdowns, optimize heating and cooling systems[4], and prioritize the use of clean electricity over fossil fuels[5][6].

ML can have a substantial positive climate impact on the industrial sector under the following circumstances:

  • When there is enough accessible, high-quality data around specific processes or transport routes.
  • When firms have an incentive to share their proprietary data and/or algorithms with researchers and other firms.
  • When aspects of production or shipping can be readily fine-tuned or adjusted, and there are clear objective functions.
  • When firms’ incentives align with reducing emissions (for example, through efficiency gains, regulatory compliance, or high GHG prices).

Yet greater efficiency may increase the production of goods and thus GHG emissions (via the Jevons paradox) unless industrial actors have sufficient incentives to reduce overall emissions[7].

Machine Learning Application Areas

  • Optimizing supply chains and logistics
  • [Accelerated science]
  • Designing for carbon-conscious products/processes
  • Optimizing energy usage
  • Minimizing wastage

Background Readings

Online Courses and Course Materials

Conferences, Journals, and Professional Organizations

Journals and conferences

Societies and organizations

Past and upcoming events

Libraries and Tools



  1. Davis, Steven J.; Lewis, Nathan S.; Shaner, Matthew; Aggarwal, Sonia; Arent, Doug; Azevedo, Inês L.; Benson, Sally M.; Bradley, Thomas; Brouwer, Jack; Chiang, Yet-Ming; Clack, Christopher T. M. (2018-06-29). "Net-zero emissions energy systems". Science. 360 (6396): eaas9793. doi:10.1126/science.aas9793. ISSN 0036-8075.
  2. Mike Gualtieri, Noel Yuhanna, Holger Kisker, Rowan Curran, Brandon Purcell, Sophia Christakis, Shreyas Warrier, and Matthew Izzi. The Forrester Wave: Big data streaming analytics, Q1 2016., January 2016.
  3. Kazi, Rubaiat Habib; Grossman, Tovi; Cheong, Hyunmin; Hashemi, Ali; Fitzmaurice, George (2017-10-20). "DreamSketch: Early stage 3D design explorations with sketching and generative design". Proceedings of the 30th Annual ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology. New York, NY, USA: ACM. doi:10.1145/3126594.3126662. ISBN 978-1-4503-4981-9.
  4. Richard Evans and Jim Gao. DeepMind AI reduces Google data centre cooling bill by 40%. DeepMind blog, 20, 2016.
  5. Zhang, Xiao; Hug, Gabriela; Kolter, J. Zico; Harjunkoski, Iiro (2016-07). "Model predictive control of industrial loads and energy storage for demand response". 2016 IEEE Power and Energy Society General Meeting (PESGM). IEEE. doi:10.1109/pesgm.2016.7741228. ISBN 978-1-5090-4168-8. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  6. Berral, Josep Ll.; Goiri, Íñigo; Nou, Ramón; Julià, Ferran; Guitart, Jordi; Gavaldà, Ricard; Torres, Jordi (2010). "Towards energy-aware scheduling in data centers using machine learning". Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on Energy-Efficient Computing and Networking - e-Energy '10. New York, New York, USA: ACM Press. doi:10.1145/1791314.1791349. ISBN 978-1-4503-0042-1.
  7. Sorrell, Steve (2009-04). "Jevons' Paradox revisited: The evidence for backfire from improved energy efficiency". Energy Policy. 37 (4): 1456–1469. doi:10.1016/j.enpol.2008.12.003. ISSN 0301-4215. Check date values in: |date= (help)