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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 | 16.03.24

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This week we cover how climate change is affecting our brains, our concept of time, and (sorry sommeliers) even our wine. However, it’s not all doom and gloom, as we look into the green-tech startups working hard to prevent future disasters, with cross-Germany ‘solar-system’ implementation, and green cement that produces less than 98% of the carbon emissions.

We hope you enjoy these stories and more below.

Ps. We’ve just launched The CogX Transatlantic Accelerator; a joint campaign with the UK Government to connect the most innovative UK startups with US markets. If you are or know a UK startup they can apply for over $20k worth of support to attend, exhibit and network at CogX Festival in LA on 7th May here

Top Stories

Climate change is now actually messing with time: The melting of ice caps is affecting Earth's shape and rotation, influencing the need for "negative leap seconds" to synchronise time with Earth's rotation. While the exact effects are uncertain, experts suggest that climate change may delay the necessity for a negative leap second until around 2029.

It’s also messing with our brains, as growing rates of anxiety, depression, ADHD, PTSD, Alzheimer’s, and motor neurone disease may be linked to rising temperatures and extreme environmental changes caused by the climate crisis, and affecting brain health significantly.

Global extreme heat summit will urge leaders to act on the growing risk of heat-related disasters, and encourage governments to prepare. The summit will address the lack of standardised response to heat emergencies and promote best practices in disaster alerts and response, particularly in vulnerable regions.

Climate-change related security threats prompt NATO to invest in startups, who recently launched a €1 billion investment fund for 13 companies working on technology for energy grids as part of its Defense Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic project.

Chart of the Week

Despite the evidence, “climate change remains the toughest, most intractable political issue we, as a society, have ever faced". From public opinion data, a third to a half of the public believe the seriousness of global warming is ‘generally exaggerated’.

Climate Change

Study provides a map of the best places to plant trees for the environment, highlighting how some tree restoration efforts can inadvertently warm the Earth. The research offers decision tools to assess the climate-cooling potential of tree planting projects worldwide, and advocates for smarter environmental planning.


Wildfire smoke may be the deadliest effect of climate change, says a recent study. Researchers estimate that between 2025 and mid-century, wildfire smoke could cause up to 27,800 deaths annually, with associated economic damages totaling $244 billion per year. 


Sorry wine lovers: Climate change is altering grape yield, composition, and wine quality. Existing winegrowing regions face risks of disappearing due to excessive drought and heat-waves, while warmer temperatures may create opportunities for new regions like the southern United Kingdom. 

Colombian avocados are back in the sustainability goodbooks, as Hass avocado production joins forces with the Colombian Business Council for Sustainable Development, to reinforce the sector's commitment to global quality, and sustainability.



Stat of the week 

From 2022 to 2023, the global average sea level rose by about:

0.3 inches

A large jump due to a warming climate and El Niño. For reference: the total rise is equivalent to draining a quarter of Lake Superior into the ocean over the course of a year.


Green Tech

German greentech unicorn Enpal secures over €1 billion for residential solar systems. Enpal offers integrated renewable energy solutions to German homeowners, including solar systems, energy storage, EV-charging stations, and heat pumps.


Are deep sea ecosystems worth risking for green-metal mining? The abundance of materials like cobalt and nickel, necessary to support green initiatives, in the Pacific's Clarion-Clipperton zone poses a significant dilemma, as environmentalists caution against the unknown ecological consequences.


A Swedish startup has raised €10 million to develop green cement from industrial waste, potentially reducing carbon emissions by 95%. CemVision’s process uses by-products from steel and mining industries, sidestepping the environmental impact from traditional cement production,

Is this laser tech startup unlocking the 'holy grail' of energy? UK fusion startup Tokamak Energy is working to produce clean energy by using fusion power. They're currently testing a plasma-stabilising laser that will be able to control and sustain fusion conditions.



In case you missed it

Should we be terrified of climate change?

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