FOE Responds to Lack of Climate Accountability in AI “Roadmap”

Friends of the Earth Responds to Lack of Climate Accountability in Senator Chuck Schumer’s AI “Roadmap”

WASHINGTON — Today, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer published a report that lays out a roadmap for artificial intelligence. 

Michael Khoo, Climate Disinformation Program Manager at Friends of the Earth, released the following statement in reaction to the report:

Senator Schumer is slow-walking real regulations, giving Silicon Valley a free pass to put profits over people and the planet. Despite the claims from Big Tech companies that AI will fix the climate crisis, it is currently doing the opposite, increasing carbon emissions by its enormous energy requirements. Senator Schumer’s policy roadmap has ignored the pleas by the environmental community that energy impacts are included in AI regulation from the outset. The math is simple: the exponential increase in energy use from AI, and its rapid use by the oil and gas industry to speed its production, far outweigh any minor efficiency gains AI is currently producing. Senator Schumer should step up and support energy transparency measures like those introduced by Senator Markey to give the public and regulators a detailed clear picture of how AI impacts the planet. Additionally, absent crucial guardrails, AI will turbocharge the spread and climate disinformation that threatens the implementation of climate policies like the Inflation Reduction Act.

Friends of the Earth, a founding member of the Climate Action Against Disinformation Coalition, led on a report earlier this year that demonstrates the threats that artificial intelligence pose to the environment. In summary, AI systems require an enormous amount of energy and water, and consumption is expanding quickly. In addition, AI is posed to turbocharge disinformation, including climate change-related deepfakes, ahead of a historic election year where climate policy will be central to the debate. 

Friends of the Earth Action has endorsed a bill led by Senator Edward Markey that directs the National Institute of Standards and Technology to develop standards to measure and report the full range of AI’s environmental impacts, as well as create a voluntary framework for AI developers to report on these impacts.

Communications Contact: Erika Seiber, [email protected]

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