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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 | 10.02.24

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This week, the EU unveiled an ambitious plan to slash greenhouse gas emissions by 90% by 2040, aiming to become the world's first climate-neutral continent. But with key sectors like agriculture still largely exempted from targeted cuts, can the bloc truly fulfil its ambitious climate promises?

Elsewhere, new research warns the world has already surpassed 1.5°C warming and might exceed 2°C within this decade, an Oxford spinout has shattered the world record for solar panel efficiency, and a once-abandoned mine in Finland is being repurposed into a cutting-edge gravity battery for renewable energy storage.

We hope you enjoy these stories and more below.

CogX Must Reads


Top Stories

🏭 EU lays out plan to cut 90% of greenhouse emissions by 2040. The proposal seeks to drive a dramatic acceleration in emissions reductions — but political concessions, particularly in the agricultural sector, have sparked concerns over the integrity of the policies.


🇬🇧 UK Labour party retracts its £28bn annual green investment commitment, opting to scale back its climate investment plans. This pivot arrives amidst criticism over the party’s economic credibility and marks a significant policy U-turn in their strategy for climate action.


🌎 The world has already surpassed 1.5°C warming and may reach  2°C within this decade, a new study published in Nature says. The research, based on temperature records preserved in sea-sponge skeletons, indicates a higher rise in global temperatures than previously anticipated.

The cost of global damage from natural disasters

In 2023, the addition of global renewable energy capacity is expected to surge by an unprecedented 107 gigawatts (GW), reaching over 440 GW — marking the largest growth in history.


Climate Change

🔥 Wildfires kill 123 in Chile's worst natural disaster since 2010 earthquake. The forest fires have ravaged entire neighbourhoods, threatening coastal cities and prompting international aid offers. Government officials say hundreds are still missing.

🌱 UK Government confirms a 50% reduction in national emissions since 1990. The reduction is primarily attributed to a transformation in the energy generation mix, with renewables now accounting for over a third of electricity production and coal's share reduced to 1.5%.


🚨 Ethiopia faces a severe hunger crisis, with at least 372 deaths reported in the Tigray and Amhara regions over the last six months due to drought-induced starvation. Over 20 million people are in need of assistance, says the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).


Stat of the week 

Additions to global onshore wind capacity in 2023 are projected to increase by a staggering


signalling a significant shift towards renewable energy adoption.


Green Tech

☀️ Oxford spinout sets a new world record for most efficient solar panel. With a 25% conversion rate, Oxfords PV’s innovative solar panel tech is set to be the most efficient on the planet. Their breakthrough perovskite-on-silicon technology promises to significantly improve solar energy capture and utilisation.

🔋A disused mine in Finland is being turned into a gravity battery to store renewable energy. This first full-scale prototype in Pyhäjärvi uses a weight winching system to store excess power from other renewable sources.

🚗 Global sales of gas-powered vehicles have been declining annually since peaking in 2017, overtaken by the rising share of electric vehicles in the global auto market. Their sales have dropped over 23% in the past six years.



 In case you missed it

Traditional farming in India is embracing AI technology to boost efficiency and productivity — but how swiftly can the country bridge the gap in tech adoption to ensure widespread benefits for its farmers?

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