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Apple CEO Tim Cook Champions AI as Key Weapon in Business Fight Against Climate Change

Apple CEO Tim Cook made a strong case for artificial intelligence (AI) as a game-changer in reducing businesses' carbon footprint during a climate change dialogue at the China Development Forum. Cook, a vocal advocate for environmental responsibility, highlighted AI's potential as a powerful tool in the fight against climate change.

This comes on the heels of a week-long visit to China, where Cook reportedly met with Commerce Minister Wang Wentao and unveiled plans for continued investment in the Chinese market, according to Bloomberg. Apple has long positioned itself as a leader in environmental stewardship, with the Apple Watch being the company's first carbon-neutral product. During the forum, Cook emphasized both Apple's progress towards its ambitious environmental goals and the necessity of continuous innovation.

"AI offers a vast toolkit for businesses aiming to achieve carbon neutrality or significantly reduce emissions," Cook remarked. He acknowledged, however, that progress in AI development by Chinese tech companies might be hampered by ongoing US trade sanctions.

Cook's visit to China coincided with Beijing's efforts to project an image of openness to foreign investment. Following Chinese Premier Li Qiang's opening speech, Cook participated in a meeting with other international CEOs. Cook reportedly emphasized the dynamism and vibrancy of the Chinese market, hinting at multiple visits over the past year.

The focus on environmental issues during Cook's China trip could be seen as a strategic move to navigate the sensitive geopolitical landscape amidst strained US-China relations. Apple has achieved carbon neutrality in its own operations and has set a target of net zero climate impact across its entire business by 2030. The company is also committed to eliminating plastic from its product packaging by 2025. A simple example of the impact such efforts can have: the removal of exterior plastic wrap from iPhone 13 packaging alone prevented a staggering 600 metric tons of waste generation, underlining the power of small-scale changes implemented at a large scale.

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