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 | 11.11.23
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In a twist, experts warn that reducing deadly air pollution could inadvertently strip away a ‘solar shield’ – and its absence could accelerate climate change. Plus, scientists are developing AI-driven robots to automate the restoration of coral reefs, in a bid to save these crucial ecosystems threatened by climate change.
In a landmark ceremony in Singapore, Prince William unveiled the latest cohort of Earth Shot Prize winners, granting £5 million to five pioneering firms for their sustainability efforts in sectors like EV battery tech and food waste management. Meanwhile, the UK is investing £65 million in a pioneering green heating system, channelling waste heat from data centres to warm thousands of homes.
We cover these stories and more in today’s edition — from how an innovative carbon capture startup could help solve climate change to the UK’s sluggish adoption of hydrogen fuels.
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CogX Must Reads
Do clearer skies mean a warmer Earth?
China's slash in sulphur dioxide emissions has unexpectedly led to higher temperatures, scientists find. While air pollution is notoriously harmful, it paradoxically acts as a partial barrier against the sun's intense heat — and its absence, experts caution, could accelerate climate change. (Reuters)
Can AI aid in coral reef restoration?
Coral Maker, an Australian-based startup, is engineering AI-driven robots to automate coral reef restoration, aiming to speed up recovery and slash costs. With over half of Earth’s reefs vanishing in the last 60 years, this innovative technology could become a critical lifeline for endangered ecosystems. (Bloomberg)
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Scientists urge faster action to limit warming
Scientists warn that to avoid surpassing 1.5°C warming, global net-zero emissions must be reached by 2034, a full 16 years earlier than planned. In this narrowed window, rapid decarbonisation becomes crucial — and every fraction of a degree will count. (NewScientist)
Revolutionising carbon capture
US startup Avnos is piloting an innovative machine that can capture both carbon dioxide and water out of thin air. Using advanced carbon capture techniques, this technology can harvest anywhere from five to 10 tons of water for every ton of CO2 captured. (Bloomberg)
Stat of the week
After a dip over the past two years, installations of onshore wind power are set to surge by
in 2023, reaching a record high of 107 gigawatts. (IEA)
UK to transform data centre waste into sustainable heating
The UK government is spending £65 million to build a first-of-its-kind heat network that will recycle waste heat from large data centres. The initiative will provide low-carbon heating to over 10,000 new homes. Slashing carbon footprints and energy expenses. (Circular Online)
Prince William’s 2023 Earthshot Prize winners announced
Prince William granted £5 million to five pioneering companies leading the charge in sustainable initiatives. The awardees include innovators in sectors like EV batteries and food waste management. (BBC)
Global ocean temperatures are on the rise
Since the 1980s, the yearly average temperature of ocean surfaces has risen steadily from the 20th century average. In 2022, the NOAA reported that global ocean surface temperatures exceeded last century's average by 0.69 degrees Celsius. (NOAA)
UK's hydrogen hesitation threatens business exodus
The UK's sluggish adoption of hydrogen fuel risks driving businesses overseas, endangering the nation's competitive edge and carbon reduction objectives. If swift action isn't taken on hydrogen integration, the country could risk losing the economic opportunities presented by this technology, experts warn. (BBC)
What is the role of Latin America in clean energy?
Latin America and the Caribbean are positioned as key players in the global shift towards clean energy, according to a new IEA report. Unlocking this potential relies on building the right policy frameworks and escalating investment in green energy infrastructure. (IEA)
In case you missed it
Renowned geologist Scott Tinker calls for a ‘radical middle ground’ in global energy conversations, advocating for the coexistence of science and faith in energy debates:
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