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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 | 06.01.24

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Last month, COP28 closed with a landmark deal pushing for a global shift away from fossil fuels. Nearly 200 nations agreed to accelerate their decarbonisation goals amidst international pressure for bolder action — but will global governments step up to the challenge?


The UK itself faces an energy dilemma as its remaining fleet of nuclear power stations shrinks; risking higher fossil fuel reliance amid increasing energy demands. Elsewhere, as global coal consumption nears a tentative peak this year, China's slow emissions decline continues to worry climate experts.

We hope you enjoy these stories and more below.

CogX Must Reads


Top Stories

🌎 COP28 ended with a deal on fossil fuels. Now it's time to turn climate talk into action. Nearly 200 nations agreed to a landmark deal pushing for a global shift away from fossil fuels at COP28 last month. Now the onus is on policymakers to act accordingly — but translating these ambitious goals into actionable policies won’t be an easy task.


⛽ The UK's nuclear dilemma. Britain's nuclear power output plummeted below 40 terawatt-hours last year for the first time since the 1980s as power stations closed. With the remaining fleet set to shrink further, the country risks higher fossil fuel reliance amid warnings of a severe cold snap this winter.

The cost of global damage from natural disasters

Since the 1980s, the cost of global damage from natural disasters has skyrocketed, disproportionately affecting low-income countries with severe economic losses. But while COP28 has delivered some positive steps in the form of a new climate disaster fund, more action is needed.


Climate Change

📈 Is coal’s peak soon approaching? Global consumption of the dirtiest fossil fuel will hit a record high this year then start a gradual decline, according to a new IEA report. But with China’s demand falling at a modest rate, there's concern that the phaseout pace won't align with crucial emissions goals.


☘️ Ireland's green leap. The country is on the verge of a historic referendum to recognise both the rights of nature and the human right to a healthy environment. If successful, it would be the first in Europe to enshrine those rights constitutionally.


Stat of the week 

In 2023, the clean energy sector's workforce grew to over

36 million

globally, outstripping the number of individuals employed in the fossil fuel industry. (IEA)


Green Tech

🏡 Can sewage heat warm homes? A suburb in Vancouver harnesses wastewater heat as a sustainable energy source for home heating. With buildings accounting for over 40% of energy consumption in the EU, this groundbreaking approach presents a scalable solution for an urban energy transition.

♻️ China's flagship green hydrogen project faces lengthy delays. The world's largest facility will take nearly two more years to reach full capacity amid technical troubles with its renewable-powered electrolysers. These setbacks threaten to slow global hydrogen ramp-up vital for cutting industry emissions.

🚜 Do wind farms really affect property values? A new study in the Energy Policy journal reveals properties near proposed wind farms see an 11% drop in value, a key factor in local wind development debates. However, the findings show this decrease fades over time, balancing out in the years following project completion.



 In case you missed it

Data scientist Hannah Ritchie analyses the latest environmental data and trends, unpacking the nuances behind sustainability progress and examining how society can urgently accelerate the transition to a livable world.

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