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Race to Net Zero

Your weekly CogX briefing on green tech and the future of energy

Is ChatGPT harming the environment?

Rishi Sunak pledged new licences for North Sea oil and gas, as the UK softens its climate ambitions following the Uxbridge by-election and the unpopularity of ULEZ. With rising pressure on the 2030 ban on new petrol cars being sold, will the Prime Minister change course?

A new survey found that most asset managers are dialling down on climate commitments, as equity fund portfolios increasingly misalign with pledged net zero goals.

Meanwhile, Google will use AI to safeguard endangered mangrove ecosystems and a new tech startup developed a fuel-saving app set to revolutionise diesel train operations, saving millions in fuel costs.

Read on for more on these topics — as well as the latest on AI’s carbon footprint, the EU’s new ESG regulations and China’s control over the solar industry in the CogX Must Reads. 

Top Stories
UK’s carbon capture gamble

Rishi Sunak pledged to issue hundreds of new development licences for North Sea oil and gas, accompanied by substantial investments in carbon capture. The goal is to enhance Britain's energy independence while moving towards net-zero emissions. Critics fear that the push for carbon capture will be used as an excuse to slow the phaseout of fossil fuels.

Asset managers dial back on climate commitments

95% of equity fund portfolios aren’t aligned with global climate crisis efforts, a new report by InfluenceMap finds. Despite over 300 investment firms joining net-zero initiatives, only a few have actually followed through on their commitments.

Climate change
AI’s carbon footprint

New Stanford research highlights the environmental impact of training the next generation of AI powered tools. Popular systems like ChatGPT emit around 502 tons of CO2 during training runs, comparable to a single person flying from New York to London 251 times. Despite this, the report also emphasises AI's potential to contribute to the future of the energy sector by improving energy efficiency.

Earth reaches plastic overshoot day

By 28 July global plastic production for the year had outstripped the capacity to manage it effectively. The projected 159 million tons of short-life plastic this year will likely strain the international capacity for waste management, leading to leakages.

Green tech
Fuel-saving app helps diesel trains embrace cleaner performance

RailVision, a Montreal-based startup, has created an AI-powered app for train drivers to make fuel-saving adjustments while driving. In a one-year test with Ontario's Metrolinx, the app saved over 1.5 million litres of diesel fuel. With rail travel producing 100m tonnes of greenhouse emissions annually, this technology could make a real difference.

AI to safeguard endangered mangrove ecosystems

The World Wildlife Foundation and Google teamed up to launch an AI-powered mangrove ecosystem monitoring system in Mexico, with $5m funding to install sensors. The AI tool will analyse the data to assist conservationists in protecting and restoring the mangroves.

China's control over the solar industry

80% of global solar panel manufacturing is now controlled by China. Many solar panels have significant exposure to the Xinjiang region where polysilicon is produced. But it also has serious forced labour issues and many are asking if the industry is doing enough to address human rights.

EU’s new ESG regulations

The EU’s new sustainability reporting rules will impact over 50,000 companies in the broader European Economic Area. Aligning financial reporting with sustainability reporting, the directive will require significant changes in data requirements for large public-interest companies with over 500 employees.

CogX Must Reads

In case you missed it

Watch Eric Rubenstein, Managing Partner of New Climate Ventures, as he talks about the future of climate technology and the crucial role of green market regulations:

We'd love to hear your thoughts on this week’s Issue and what you’d like to see more of.

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