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Race to Net Zero

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

The week's developments in green tech & energy policy, explained

A controversial government report that estimated the UK's net-zero expenditure to be a staggering £4.5 trillion was retracted after the discovery of glaring factual errors. Meanwhile, South African cities, plagued by recurrent power outages over the past year, may find respite through AI-optimised water heaters.  

 Elsewhere, a sustainable nickel and copper mining roadmap has been developed in response to the surging demand for minerals essential to green technologies. Plus, The IEA hails clean energy as pivotal in attaining global net zero emissions by 2050, with solar and electric vehicles leading the charge.   

We cover these stories and more — from the sea turning green, and seaweed biofuel, to advanced fission — in the CogX Must Reads. I hope you enjoy it! Best, Charlie and the Research and Intelligence Team 

P.S. Did you miss some of the sessions at the Festival? CogX Festival 2023 is now available on demand - watch more than 35 inspiring sessions from the likes of Steven Bartlett and Yuval Noah Harari on our YouTube channel now.  

Net zero reporting and sustainable AI

UK net zero report retracted

A government report, published last Thursday, estimated that achieving net zero would cost the UK government £4.5tn. However, the report has since been retracted due to factual errors, such as mixing up billions and trillions, and MW with MWh.

AI may stop South African blackouts 

South African cities have been fraught with power outages last year, and AI-optimised water heaters could be the solution. Water heaters account for half of household power use, and optimisation could save precious resources and reduce the possibility of blackouts. 

Could climate change ruin your holidays?

A recent report has deemed our current travel model ‘unsustainable’, and warns that carbon passports may be necessary to align with global net-zero goals. A carbon passport works as a personal ‘carbon emission allowance’, and would restrict, or even ban international holidays.

The climate crisis is turning the sea green 

And if needing a climate passport for your holidays wasn't enough proof of the impact of climate change on our environment, a new study using Aqua satellite measurements spanning the last 20 years concluded that the sea surface is changing from blue to green - caused by communities of phytoplankton, tiny plant-like organisms that produce oxygen. This shift indicates the impact of climate change on ocean ecosystems, and could be the reason for many of the


Stat of the week 

£129 per MT 2030

EU carbon price is predicted to hit £129 per metric ton in 2030, rising rapidly from £76 in 2023, and £80 in 2024. 


Green Tech

Sustainable green tech mineral mining now possible A net zero roadmap for the sustainable mining of copper and nickel — essential for green-tech initiatives — has been developed. The roadmap addresses the dual challenge of escalating green tech mineral demands and meeting climate targets, bolstering metal production by 200-300% and slashing mining emissions by 90% by 2050. (The Carbon Trust

Qatar’s pumps £4bn into UK green tech  Qatar is investing £4 billion into a green energy research facility. £1.5 billion of the investment will fund UK green energy start-ups. McKinsey estimates the initiative will generate 7,500 jobs by 2030. (The Times) 

Global Solar Share 2022

The top 10 countries split in solar power in 2022. China leads with 40% of the market — Solar Power Europe

Green energy is taking centre stage

Belize is making biofuel from seaweed Belize is launching a $50 million facility to convert seaweed into biofuel. The initiative offers a sustainable solution to the growing seaweed issue, linked to climate change, which has been impacting Caribbean tourism and ecosystems since 2010. (Reuters

Green energy's role in stabilising climate change The IEA's net zero roadmap praises clean energy as the main driver to achieving global net zero emissions goals by 2050, with solar power and electric vehicles noted as the most impactful. However, to stay on track, worldwide renewable capacity must triple by 2030, and efforts in energy efficiency and methane emission reductions must intensify. (IEA) 

In case you missed it

Hear from Caroline Cochran, COO of Oklo, talking advanced fission and the future of energy at the CogX Festival 2023:

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