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Why I’m hot on AI to combat climate issues

Significant developments in artificial intelligence and machine learning have prompted companies to leverage the powerful computing technology to meet customer needs and improve operational efficiency, while some are also looking to address climate change, according to Fidelity Portfolio Manager Asher Anolic.

“I think we’re still in the early stages of discovering the innumerable ways that AI and advanced machine-learning technologies might help solve climate crises, and several big firms are spearheading the path ahead,” says Anolic, who manages Fidelity® Climate Action Fund (FCAEX).

In helming the fund since its inception in 2021, Anolic favors companies working to address climate change or its impact, either indirectly through their corporate strategy or directly through the technology, services or products they provide.

He cites Google parent Alphabet (GOOGL) and IBM (IBM) as outsized fund holdings (as of March 31) that are using advanced technology to reduce carbon emission in unique and meaningful ways.

In October 2021, Alphabet launched a feature in its Google Maps app that uses an AI-enabled prediction model to identify the most fuel-efficient routes to a user’s destination, allowing them to input their vehicle’s engine type (gas, electric, hybrid, diesel) for the most precise guidance, according to Anolic.

He adds that, according to an environmental report Alphabet released in October 2023, fuel-efficient routing has helped prevent about 2.4 million metric tons of CO2 emission since the feature’s launch. The company says this is roughly equivalent to taking about 500,000 fuel-based cars off the road for one year.

Meanwhile, in a collaboration with NASA, IBM developed a geospatial foundation model that uses satellite and weather data to accelerate the rate at which climate-change hot spots are analyzed and located around the globe, Anolic says.

In November, IBM announced the use of its model in the analysis of climate trends and solutions in Kenya (for reforestation and water sustainability), the United Arab Emirates (as it relates to urban heat islands) and the U.K. (focusing on elevating climate resiliency).

“I continue to believe companies that stay ahead of the curve by incorporating carbon reduction into their corporate mission – such as Alphabet, IBM and others – should see lower business-model risk and disruption as demand for climate-change solutions grows significantly stronger,” concludes Anolic.

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Asher Anolic
Portfolio Manager

Asher Anolic is a portfolio manager in the Equity division at Fidelity Investments.

In this role, Mr. Anolic manages the Fidelity and Fidelity Advisor Climate Action Funds, and serves as co-manager of Fidelity Growth Discovery Fund, Fidelity Capital Appreciation Fund, Fidelity Advisor Equity Growth Fund, Fidelity Advisor Series Equity Growth Fund, Fidelity VIP Growth Portfolio, and Fidelity VIP Dynamic Capital Appreciation Portfolio.

Previously, Mr. Anolic co-managed Fidelity Environment and Alternative Energy Fund, and also covered the pharmaceutical sector, global consumer staples, and regional banks. Additionally, he managed the Fidelity Select Pharmaceuticals Portfolio.

Before joining Fidelity in 2008, Mr. Anolic was a summer intern at Bear Stearns. Previously, Mr. Anolic served as a director at Thomson Financial and as an analyst at Herzog, Heine, Geduld, Inc. (Merrill Lynch). He has been in the financial industry since 2000.

Mr. Anolic earned his bachelor of arts degree in political science from Vassar College and his master of business administration degree from the Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University.

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