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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 | 25.11.23

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As floods submerge Pakistan and heatwaves roast southern Europe in autumn, this week delivered another stark wakeup call on climate. A UN report published days before the COP28 summit found that current emissions pledges would still put the world on track to warm by nearly 3°C this century.

Analysis shows current policies put Earth on trajectory for 2.5-2.9°C of heating by 2100 – a "hellish" scenario where runaway tipping points could cause irreversible damage. The chance of limiting temperature rises to 1.5°C is fading rather than growing, the authors warn, now down to just a 14% probability.

All eyes now turn to next week's COP28 summit in Dubai, a pivotal moment and potentially humanity's best chance to steer the course towards a sustainable and viable future.

We cover these stories and more in today’s edition — from asking what happens after we achieve net zero, to a startup giving decommissioned turbines new life as park benches and picnic tables

CogX Must Reads


Top Stories

🔥 World facing ‘hellish’ 3°C of climate heating, UN warns. The UN has urged countries to phase out fossil fuels and triple renewable energy efforts by 2030 to prevent catastrophic global heating. With the planet already reeling under a 1.4°C rise, accelerated action has never been more critical. (The Guardian)


🐋 Wildebeest and wales: The unsung heroes of climate action. From the thunder of wildebeest migrating across African savannas to the sinking carbon-rich waste of diving whales, scientists are revealing wildlife's major — yet largely unseen — role in regulating greenhouse gases and cooling the planet.  (BBC)

The relentless rise of atmospheric CO₂ concentrations

Global atmospheric CO₂ levels soared to a record 417.06 ppm in 2022, marking over a decade of annual increases surpassing 2 ppm — a clear signal of escalating greenhouse gas emissions in our atmosphere. (NOAA)


Climate Change

💰 Developing nations' soaring climate adaptation costs Grappling with dwindling international aid and worsening climate disasters, developing countries now require a staggering £309bn a year to adapt to extreme weather, says the UN. With COP28 on the horizon, pressure mounts on wealthier nations to step up their financial support. (Financial Times)


🌎 Beyond net-zero: the continuing climate challenge. Earth’s complex systems will continue to bear the effects of global warming even post-net-zero, scientists warn. With sea level rise and ocean warming likely to persist, achieving carbon neutrality might be considered more of a milestone than a final destination. (Bloomberg)


Stat of the week 

Experts predict a


rise in annual heat fatalities by mid-century if global temperatures exceed preindustrial levels by 2°C. (Reuters)


Green Tech

🗻 The villagers building 100ft ice towers. Facing severe water shortages due to climate change, villagers in Ladakh, India, have erected 100ft ice towers called 'stupas.' These towers have become essential lifelines for the community, ensuring a vital supply of water during the dry spring season. (BBC)

🌱 A startup using crushed rocks to capture carbon reports first successful removals. Eion, a startup using enhanced rock weathering to capture CO2, has removed its first 50 tons of carbon from the atmosphere in just eight months of operations. This early success marks a promising step in scalable carbon removal technology. (Bloomberg)

🪑 US startup gives decommissioned turbines new life as benches. Canvus is creatively combating wind turbine waste by transforming retired blades into park benches and picnic tables. This upcycling approach offers an innovative solution to the growing issue of wind turbine disposal. (Bloomberg)


In case you missed it

Renowned author Marshall Brain explains how the adoption of gasoline and other fossil fuels — initially celebrated for their efficiency and abundance — tragically set the stage for the current environmental crisis:

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