Data will play a major part in reaching net-zero by 2050

04 July 2024 2 min. read

Industries around the world need to halve their emissions by the end of this decade in order to achieve net-zero goals by 2050. Harnessing the power of data will play a major role in this drive, according to a joint report from Oliver Wyman and BAE Systems.

In order to reach net-zero goals, huge investments will need to be made worldwide into clean energy, cutting emissions, and protecting ecosystems. That will include tripling the amount of global investment into nature-based solutions, to reach $400 billion per year by 2030.

The report by Oliver Wyman, a management consultancy, and BAE Systems, a technical engineering company, urges more use of advanced data and data analysis strategies to drive net zero roadmaps.

Data will play a major part in reaching net-zero by 2050

A winning data strategy would also include concrete actions from the governments of major emitter countries to boost their Nationally Determined Contributions, which are outlined by the United Nations.

The ambitious goal of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 was established by the UN as part of the Paris Agreement, which sought to limit global warming to below 1.5 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial average.

Clearly, governments and the private sector around the world are not doing enough to fight climate change as of now. But the report notes a silver lining: the growth of innovative tech solutions that can aid in these goals.

For example, machine learning algorithms can be used to analyze satellite images and identify existing polluting infrastructure, such as coal plants, and areas suffering from deforestation. This has already found some real-world applications: The World Wildlife Fund is using machine learning in its fight against deforestation, and Global Fishing Watch uses algorithms to help finding illegal fishing vessels.

Much can be done to address the climate crisis with other innovations, like geospatial information (GEOINT), electronic signaling (SIGINT), and processing of public information (OSINT). Additionally applying AI and remote sensing will spawn powerful tools that can be used to fight climate change.

Emissions accountability is also likely to become more important, especially when it comes to corporate investing. Financial institutions will be able to track the real-time emissions of companies they are financing. That is an important capability for financial institutions that need accurate data on the emissions within their portfolios

“The scale of the climate change challenge is monumental. It requires the wholesale transformation of assets and supply chains from climate-vulnerable to climate-resilient, and the protection and restoration of ecosystems on a global scale,” said Robert Bailey, partner at Oliver Wyman.

“As corporations, financial institutions, and governments lean into this challenge, the operational need is emerging for a new kind of market currency: Data of sufficient quality and richness to reliably inform the millions of high-value decisions required to achieve a climate-resilient, zero-emissions world.”