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Artificial Intelligence, Climate Change and Innovative Democratic Governance

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  25 September 2023

Florian Cortez*
Ethicqual, The Hague, The Netherlands


This policy-oriented article explores the sustainability dimension of digitalisation and artificial intelligence (AI). While AI can contribute to halting climate change via targeted applications in specific domains, AI technology in general could also have detrimental effects for climate policy goals. Moreover, digitalisation and AI can have an indirect effect on climate policy via their impact on political processes. It will be argued that, if certain conditions are fulfilled, AI-facilitated digital tools could help with setting up frameworks for bottom-up citizen participation that could generate the legitimacy and popular buy-in required for speedy transformations needed to reach net zero such as radically revamping the energy infrastructure among other crucial elements of the green transition. This could help with ameliorating a potential dilemma of voice versus speed regarding the green transition. The article will further address the nexus between digital applications such as AI and climate justice. Finally, the article will consider whether innovative governance methods could instil new dynamism into the multi-level global climate regime, such as by facilitating interlinkages and integration between different levels. Before implementing innovative governance arrangements, it is crucial to assess whether they do not exacerbate old or even generate new inequalities of access and participation.

Symposium on Climate, AI & Quantum: Europe’s Regulatory Horizon
© The Author(s), 2023. Published by Cambridge University Press

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