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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As COP28 approaches, government delegates from various countries met in Kenya this week to discuss a worldwide agreement to combat plastic pollution. The key debate revolved around a crucial question: should we reduce plastic production or focus on better waste management? The answer may ultimately hinge on finding a balance between the two.
Meanwhile, global efforts to hit net-zero emissions by 2050 are mostly failing, a new study has found, except for one critical area: electric vehicle sales. These surged by 55% in 2022 compared to the previous year. Elsewhere, Swedish startup Elonroad aims to revolutionise EV charging by retrofitting roads to wirelessly charge cars as they drive. This technology could reduce the need for large battery capacities and extensive charging networks.
We cover these stories and more in today’s edition — from how an innovative carbon capture startup could help solve climate change to the pioneering startups trying to electrify aviation.
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CogX Must Reads
New round of talks for a global plastic treaty ahead of COP28
Government delegates met in Kenya this week to discuss the first-ever global treaty aimed at stopping plastic pollution. With the world currently producing over 400 million tonnes of plastic waste annually and only recycling less than 10% of it, the stakes are high to address this growing crisis. (Reuters)
EVs are the bright spot in the battle for our climate
A new study reveals that global efforts to reach net-zero emissions are failing in almost every measure, with one exception. The surging sales of EVs are the only metric on track to reach net zero by 2050, with sales growing by 55% annually between 2021 and 2022. (WRI)
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EU commits to aid fund for countries suffering extreme weather
The EU has pledged a “substantial” contribution to countries struggling with extreme weather, such as Sudan, Pakistan and Somalia. This commitment follows a recent agreement to a new framework for the ‘Loss and Damage fund’, to be discussed at COP28 later this month. (Bloomberg)
Low-income nations pay the price for plastic pollution
A WWF report found that low-income countries face a lifetime cost of plastic 10 times greater than wealthy nations, despite lower consumption. Given the lack of waste management infrastructure in these countries, most plastics end up as pollution. (WWF)
Stat of the week
The world produces around
400 million tonnes
of plastic waste every year. Of these,10 million tons end up in oceans. (UNEP)
Swedish startup wants to wirelessly power cars as they drive
Elonroad aims to revolutionise EV charging by retrofitting roads to wirelessly charge cars as they drive. This technology, which involves embedding aluminium and rubber strips into roads, could reduce the need for large battery capacities and extensive charging infrastructure. (Sifted)
Bill Gates-backed startup uses old wood to extract carbon from the air
Graphyte has engineered a hybrid system of capturing and storing CO2 underground using waste biomass — like wood residue or rice hulls. This process — which involves drying, sterilising and condensing biomass into carbon blocks — shows promise as a cost-effective solution. (Bloomberg)
Looking to reduce your carbon footprint when travelling?
Opt for trains for longer distances, choose solo driving over flying domestically, and embrace car-sharing whenever possible to minimise your impact on the environment. (BBC)
Electric aviation: startups paving the way for decarbonisation
Over 60 companies are currently developing electric aviation technology to help decarbonise the industry. Startups like Beta Technologies, Joby Aviation, and Eviation Aircraft are already testing electric planes for short-haul flights, targeting commercial launches as early as 2025. (Bloomberg)
Used EVs are hitting the UK market at prices on par with petrol cars
EVs — once carrying a £20,000 premium over their petrol counterparts — are now narrowing the price gap. This trend, sparked by soaring electricity costs and mixed government messaging on net zero, has nudged sellers to significantly reduce prices amidst tepid demand. (Telegraph)
In case you missed it
The Wall Street Journal Special does a deep dive into the companies misleading consumers with false eco-friendly claims — and how governments are stepping up to call their bluff:
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