Activist AI

Activists and investors are leveraging new artificial intelligence-powered tools to deepen their scrutiny of the energy industry’s climate and ESG commitments.

This Week's Trend In Brief:

  • As tools like chatbots that leverage artificial intelligence (AI) increasingly become a part of everyday work and life, climate activists have several new tools at their disposal.

  • Activists are using AI platforms like ClimateBert and GreenWatch AI to help level accusations of “greenwashing” against companies and even developing their own platforms like Climate TRACE to track and publish emissions from industry.

  • Likewise, investors are utilizing platforms like ClarityAI to scrutinize the energy industry over ESG and other factors.

  • Even as climate activists express concerns about AI spreading “climate misinformation” or the energy demand of AI technologies, they are seizing on AI’s utility to bring more pressure to bear on energy firms in hopes of shaping policy and investment practices.

  • Energy firms will need to understand these tools and how they can be used to ensure they can push back against activist-generated narratives that aren’t correct and lack proper context.

Digging Deeper:

As artificial intelligence has become far more mainstream in recent months, it has entered the climate change conversation. With the rise of ChatGPT and other generative AI platforms, “the AI era is here.” As AI has gone mainstream, it is also increasingly informed the climate conversation as startups utilize AI to solve climate change related challenges, such as reducing carbon emissions from the transportation sector.
Climate activists are seizing on these new AI tools to level “greenwashing” charges against industry participants. Activists have been priming “greenwashing” claims against firms for a while, but new AI tools are making it easier for them to make such accusations. For example, the recently launched “ClimateBERT” is specifically built to “detect corporate greenwashing activities.” Similarly, GreenWatch, a product of researchers at University College Dublin, can “detect greenwashing using cutting-edge artificial intelligence and machine learning tools.”
Some activists are even building their own AI tools to scrutinize industry and influence the policy debate. Climate TRACE is a “a global non-profit coalition” that uses satellite imagery, remote sensing and artificial intelligence to create a GHG emissions inventory. According to climate activist and former Vice President Al Gore, who helped launch the coalition, Climate TRACE’s goal “is radical transparency that could be used to hold big and small polluters alike accountable.” Climate activist group RMI, which is part of the Climate TRACE coalition, claims it is using the data “to help shape insights for policymakers, investors, and oil and gas companies to rapidly reduce the massive climate footprint of this important industry.”
Investors are also leveraging new AI tools to scrutinize the energy industry over its ESG commitments. As ESG continues to be a priority for many investors, lenders and investors are turning to AI to scrutinize energy companies and their performance on ESG factors. According to Clarity AI, which helps financial firms implement sustainable investing practices, “44% of professional investors are now using sustainability analytic capabilities or data from multiple service providers.” In addition to Clarity AI’s services, both ClimateBERT and GreenWatch also promote their ability to support investors’ efforts to scrutinize energy investments.
While climate activists have expressed their own concerns about AI, these emerging technologies have quickly become a part of their advocacy tool kit, and industry needs to arm itself with the facts in order to push back on activist-generated narratives. Climate activists have raised a number of concerns about the emergence of artificial intelligence, including AI potentially spreading “climate misinformation” or the technology’s carbon footprint. Despite these concerns, activists are utilizing AI to level claims of greenwashing or scrutinize emissions from industry in hopes of shaping policy and influencing investments. Firms need to understand what is shaping this new AI scrutiny and arm themselves with the facts to push back on false narratives.

Trends in Energy is your weekly look at key trends affecting the energy industry, brought to you by the competitive intelligence experts at Delve. As the political and regulatory landscape continues to shift, reach out to learn how our insights can help you navigate these challenges.