Accelerating climate action with AI


Managing the environmental impact of AI

While scaling these applications of AI and finding new ways to use it to accelerate climate action is crucial, we need to build AI responsibly and manage the environmental impact associated with it.

As AI is at an inflection point, predicting the future growth of energy use and emissions from AI compute in our data centers is challenging. Historically, data center energy consumption has grown much more slowly than demand for computing power. In 2022, global data center electricity consumption accounted for 1-1.3% of global final electricity demand.

Making AI computing more efficient requires using proven methods to cut emissions, while also uncovering new ways to increase efficiency. To minimize the carbon footprint of AI workloads, we rely on tested practices that can reduce the energy required to train an AI model by up to 100 times and reduce associated emissions by up to 1,000 times. To support the next generation of AI advances, our Tensor Processing Units v4 is proven to be one of the fastest, most efficient and most sustainable ML infrastructure hubs in the world. Additionally, our data centers, where this AI computing takes place, are designed, built, and operated to maximize efficiency. A Google-owned and -operated data center is on average more than 1.5 times as energy efficient as a typical enterprise data center, and the average annual power usage effectiveness (PUE) for our global fleet of data centers was 1.10, compared with the industry average of 1.55.

We take a climate-conscious approach to cooling our data centers, as we continue to champion responsible water use. Similar to a personal computer, data centers generate heat and must be cooled through air cooling, water cooling, refrigerants or some combination of these solutions. For our data centers, we aim to support hyperlocal factors and decisions, including hydrology, geography, energy and emissions factors. Water may be the most efficient means of cooling in many places and, when used responsibly, can play an important role in reducing emissions.

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