Race to Net Zero
Your weekly CogX briefing on green tech and the future of energy
Will thirsty AI waste the world's water?
The UK government announced millions in funding to fast-track the development of AI-driven solutions to accelerate decarbonisation. With mounting government endorsement, is AI on the brink of becoming a net-zero game-changer?
A recent report reveals that corporate climate action has surged in the past year, driven by growing business demand for reliable greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets.
Meanwhile, abandoned industrial sites in Europe are undergoing a transformation as floating solar panels convert them into valuable green powerhouses, while an exciting new breakthrough in carbon capture technology is set to revolutionise the carbon credit market.
Read on for more on these topics — as well as the latest on AI’s water footprint, a surge in global oil demand and EU's soaring solar capacity — in the CogX Must Reads.
CogX Must reads of the week
UK’s AI-powered carbon emission reduction strategy
The UK government is investing £4 million in 12 major AI projects to reduce carbon emissions across a range of industries and energy sectors. These initiatives involve using AI to improve solar energy forecasting, facilitating the decarbonisation of the dairy industry, and mitigating the carbon footprint of AI technology
Corporate climate action soars
Corporate efforts towards climate action gained momentum in 2022, with an unprecedented 87% surge in science-based target disclosures. A new report highlighted how more companies set targets in 2022 than in the entire seven years prior, with Japan, the UK and the US leading the way in corporate climate action.
New research highlights the ‘hidden’ water footprint of AI models
Well-known systems like GPT-3 can consume an astonishing 700,000 litres of freshwater for on-site cooling during training runs, and the equivalent of a small 500ml water bottle for every 20-50 question conversation. As AI chatbot users worldwide reach 1.4 billion this year, can the industry cope with AI’s unsustainable water use?
A lifeline for melting glaciers
Over 80% of glaciers could vanish in the coming years if global temperatures increase by just four degrees Celsius. However, new research suggests that limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius could potentially save over half of currently affected glaciers, reducing risks associated with rising sea levels and the loss of freshwater sources.
Abandoned industrial sites are being transformed by floating solar panels
Surging demand for solar panels within land-constrained countries has propelled the adoption of floating photovoltaics across industrial artificial water bodies. The World Bank estimates that just 10% of these lakes hosting solar panels could cover more than 7% of the EU's annual power consumption.
Carbon capture breakthrough at sea
Running Tide, a US ocean carbon capture startup, has completed a pioneering project in which 1,000 tons of wooden buoys were sunk off the Icelandic coast to capture CO2 from the atmosphere. The startup delivered its first carbon removal credits of 100 metric tonnes to the e-commerce giant Shopify.
Global oil demand surges to unprecedented heights
Worldwide oil demand hit a record high 103 million barrels per day in June, with the International Energy Agency (IEA) anticipating that it could climb further in August. The increase in demand is fuelled by surging energy generation needs and unprecedented levels of petrochemical activities in China.
EU’s soaring solar capacity
The EU’s solar power capacity is projected to increase by over 43% by the end of 2023, a new report finds. Solar energy’s versatility, cost-effectiveness, and increasing recognition as a key source of renewable energy have contributed to its success and widespread implementation
In case you missed it
Check out this special report on the hidden environmental costs of powering widely used AI systems like ChatGPT:
We'd love to hear your thoughts on this week’s Issue and what you’d like to see more of.