Baidu and IDC jointly launched China’s first White Paper on AI’s Contribution to Achieving the “Dual Carbon” Goals in 2021 on December 29. The white paper estimates that AI-related technologies will contribute to reducing more than 35 billion tons of carbon emissions from now to 2060.
With the title of “Smart Carbon Emission Reduction, Inspire the Transformation to Green Energy “, the report focusing AI’s Contribution to achieving China’s “Dual Carbon” goal in 2021 (hereinafter referred to as the “White Paper”) was released during a panel discussion on green technology at the 2021 Baidu Create conference. This is the first industry-led research report in China focusing on the role of AI in achieving China’s carbon peaking and carbon neutrality goals. (The white paper is currently available for download at esg.baidu.com.)
The report draws on IDC’s research in the field of ICT and artificial intelligence, as well as the practices of Baidu and its industry partners in related fields. From a wide range of dimensions such as technical categories, mechanism principles, action scenarios, industry applications, and practical cases, the white paper systematically explains the core role of artificial intelligence and related info-communication technologies in increasing efficiency, reducing consumption, and achieving green transformation in various industries.
According to the white paper, the path to realising carbon neutrality must be technology-intensive, and breakthroughs in AI technology will be implemented in various industries through ICT infrastructure combined with carbon reduction technologies. AI-related technologies’ contribution to carbon reduction will increase every year, reaching at least 70% by 2060 with the total carbon reduction exceeding 35 billion tons.
Robin Li, Co-Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Baidu said that Baidu is currently drawing on its advantages in AI to harness technologies including autonomous driving and vehicle-to-everything to realize a complete smart transportation system and ensuring an optimal solution to carbon reduction. He also expressed that Baidu will continue to invest further resources in this effort together with ecosystem partners using AI to achieve zero carbon growth.
“One of the key advantages of smart transportation solutions is the ability of “Vehicle-road-smart mobility” to address the issue of emissions at the root”, said Guobin Shang, Vice President and General Manager of Intelligent Transportation Division at Baidu. “By 2030, Baidu is expected to reduce carbon emissions from urban transport by more than 70 million tons, equal to 8 percent of China’s total emissions in 2020″.
The transportation industry exemplifies AI’s direct impact on the reduction of carbon emissions. In 2020, carbon emissions from China’s transportation industry were estimated to be 1.04 billion tons, accounting for 9% of the country’s total emissions. The use of slow blocking intelligent transportation technology based on intelligent information control can effectively improve the traffic efficiency of major urban road intersections. Cities with a population of 10 million can therefore reduce carbon emissions by at least 41,600 tons per year, which is equivalent to the carbon emission of 14,000 private cars in a year.
Based on IDC’s long-term tracking and accumulation of data on the global IT market, the white paper employs an original data center for carbon emission model to calculate that in 2020 alone, the global carbon emission reduced by cloud computing is equivalent to taking nearly 26 million gas-powered cars off the road.
In June 2021, Baidu announced its goal to achieve carbon neutrality in its operations by 2030, using advanced technology and innovative mechanisms to minimize its ecological footprint. The company’s approach to fulfil carbon neutral targets is centered on six main operational aspects: data centers, office buildings, carbon offsets, intelligent transportation, AI cloud and supply chains.