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 | 21.10.23
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Scientists are uncovering ‘zombie viruses’ from the melting Siberian permafrost, some of which retain their infectious properties after 50,000 years. Plus, new research shows AI systems could soon consume as much electricity as an entire country.
Google's 'Green Light' project is using AI and Google Maps data to improve traffic light coordination in UK cities, and is projected to reduce emissions at intersections by up to 10%. Meanwhile, new research conducted by the European Central Bank suggests that soaring summer temperatures in the eurozone will likely be exacerbated by climate change, leading to increased food prices for consumers.
We cover these stories and more in today’s edition — from the world's largest offshore wind farm, to the UK's faltering hydrogen ambitions.
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.
CogX Must Reads
Melting permafrost reveals resurrected zombie viruses
As Siberian permafrost thaws due to climate change, scientists are investigating the revival of ancient viruses long trapped under the frost. With climate change gathering momentum, concerns mount over the potential threats these 50,000-year-old pathogens pose to human health and the environment. (Bloomberg)
AI's hunger for energy is on the rise
AI systems could consume up to 134 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity annually by 2027, equivalent to what entire countries like Sweden or the Netherlands use in a year. The development of new power-hungry chips is contributing to this surge in energy demand, prompting calls for more energy-efficient AI development. (The New York Times)
Climate change fuels inflation volatility
Scorching summer temperatures, driven by climate change, led to inflated food prices for consumers in the eurozone, new research finds. As climate change intensifies, central banks may face greater challenges in stabilising prices, particularly in the face of extreme weather events. (ECB)
Global water crisis threatens trillions in economic value, WWF warns
Climate change and pollution are rapidly damaging the world’s water and freshwater ecosystems, which are worth an estimated £48 trillion in annual economic value, according to the WWF. Experts warn that urgent investments in sustainable water infrastructure are needed to prevent the water crisis, which could affect 46% of global GDP by 2050. (IEMA)
Stat of the week
From June to August 2023, the Northern Hemisphere experienced its
consecutive summer with above-average temperatures. (NCEI)
Google launches Project Green Light to slash UK city emissions
It uses AI and Google Maps data to improve traffic light coordination in UK cities. This effort aims to reduce emissions at intersections by up to 10% and enhance traffic flow, presenting a smart solution to urban pollution problems. (Energy Live News)
The world's largest offshore wind farm powers up in the UK
Once fully operational, the wind farm will power some 6 million homes annually and deliver CO2 savings equivalent to removing 1.5 million cars from the road. The project is seen as a crucial step toward improving UK energy security and is set to solidify the country’s position as a leader in offshore wind. (SSE)
UK’s renewable energy mix:
Wind power continues to dominate the UK's energy scene, accounting for over 68% of all renewable energy produced in the country (excluding nuclear). Solar and hydropower added their share to the renewable mix in 2023, generating over 11.8 TWh and 2.9 TWh of energy respectively.
UK's hydrogen aspirations slipping
The UK's ambitious hydrogen plans, set in 2021, face setbacks as Germany and the Netherlands lead the race with substantial investments and greater infrastructure. Lack of subsidies and policy clarity has caused the UK's hydrogen development to lag, raising concerns about the country’s net-zero goals. (Bloomberg)
Methane cuts in fossil fuels could save millions of lives
Immediate methane reductions in the fossil fuel industry could save nearly one million lives by 2050, prevent crop losses, and reduce labour, according to a new IEA report. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, and curbing emissions from oil, gas, and coal operations is one of the most cost-effective ways to combat climate change. (IEA)
In case you missed it
Watch former climate minister Erik Solheim, Oklo’s COO Caroline Cochran, and other expert panellists discuss how we can get the next 10 years right in the race to net zero at CogX Festival 2023:
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Disclaimer: This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It does not constitute financial, investment, legal or tax advice.