Drones are on the fly, able to squeeze into extremely cold and hot spaces where humans dare not tread. They efficiently capture data, measurements and samples of heavy CO2 concentrations.
They could also track the nonstop dirty logistics movement of goods via trucks, trains and cars, with AI leading the way for GIS technology to pinpoint heaviest carbon impact using geospatial data. Spotting those ecological impact trends could then be used to drive policy and legislation toward clean energy solutions.
Harvard scientists are also working on several AI projects. One catalytic converter has coating fashioned after the wings of a butterfly that could reduce pollution and cut the cost of air purification, making clean air accessible to worldwide. Among numerous other applications, the scientists are also developing a bionic leaf that converts sunlight and CO2 into clean liquid energy.
This year so far, some 70,000 fires have ravaged the Amazon rainforest, the world’s greatest source of carbon sink, often known as “lungs of the earth.” In the battle to quench the fires, and tackle so many other carbon impact issues, the prospect of robots fixing humanity’s mistakes holds strong appeal.
But John Leary, executive director of Trees for the Future, takes a more pragmatic view. He believes the main goal must be to take care of the earth’s existing resources and restabilize systems by properly addressing healthy soil, farmland and food systems.
As one might expect, he believes trees are the answer, but Leary isn’t impressed with the rapid mass deployment of robots. Instead, he says that society must keep existing forest systems intact.