top of page



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 | 10.04.24

If you’re enjoying this briefing, sign up here — and share it with a friend. Reading time: ~5 minutes

This week we cover AI’s mass energy consumption (spoiler, it's equivalent to a small country), the 57 companies contributing to 80% of global emissions, and the investment deficit putting 1.5C goals out of the question. However, it’s not all doom and gloom, as we look into the green-tech startups working hard to prevent future disasters, with sand batteries capable of heating small towns — from a single charge — and photosynthesis-enabled space travel…


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

AI consumes as much energy as a small country, projections indicating that the energy demand for data centres, cryptocurrency, and AI could double by 2026. Experts advocate for transparency, digital sobriety, and sustainable AI practices to mitigate the environmental impact.


EV passes tipping point to mass adoption in 31 countries, a threshold set to when 5% of new-car sales are fully electric, signalling a rapid shift in consumer preference and market dynamics. This trend is likely due to decreasing costs and growing environmental consciousness. 


Just 57 companies linked to 80% of the world’s emissions since the 2016 Paris Agreement, most increasing their fossil fuel production despite international reduction calls. Enforceable global strategies are needed to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and transition to renewable energy sources.

Investment deficit in green energy puts 1.5C goals out of the question. Despite record growth in renewables, global spending reaches only half of the necessary $1.3T. Additionally uneven distribution of investments disproportionately affects developing markets, hindering a global transition to clean energy.


Chart of the Week

In a recent study, the authors found that AI writing (via BLOOM or ChatGPT) produces 130–1500 times less CO2e per page than a human author. AI also produces substantially less CO2e than the computer usage to support humans doing that writing.

Climate Change

Scientists are deep-freezing coral reefs to safeguard them against climate change and pollution. By freezing coral sperm and larvae, researchers can create genetically diverse populations to repopulate oceans providing hope for the future of coral reefs amidst rapid degradation.


Climate change is disrupting trees' biological clocks, impacting crucial functions like photosynthesis and growth. Research suggests that tree species adapted to colder climates face decreased survival rates and possible extinction from climate change. 


AI is being employed to tackle food waste by monitoring restaurant bins and analysing supermarket sales data. Some companies are using AI to identify wasteful practices and optimise inventory management to reduce the environmental impact of uneaten food ending up in landfills. 


Inside the workers who are ‘climate quitting’ the fossil fuel industry to align their careers with environmental values. Despite financial appeal, the climate crisis and perceived corporate hypocrisy in the industry is enough to drive employees towards more eco-friendly roles.



Stat of the week 

Coastal systems are extremely sensitive to climate change. Approximately


will be affected by climate change. Nearly half of the world's major cities are located within 50 km of a coast, and coastal population densities are 2.6 times greater than those of inland areas, with a steep rise over the years.


Green Tech

Sand battery startup receives €7.6M to scale up its tech which can heat a small town for a month on a single charge, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 70%. The sand battery charges up and heats the sand to 600°C, before releasing stored heat to a district heating network.


Achieving space travel through photosynthesis: Startup AIR COMPANY is pioneering sustainable rocket fuel production from carbon dioxide emissions, using a process akin to photosynthesis —  a giant leap towards environmentally friendly space exploration. 


The simplest way to harvest more ‘blue energy’ from the sea is to simply reposition the electrode to where water crashes with the most force on wave-energy harvesting devices. Researchers found this approach significantly increases the energy output

US and Europe are alarmed at China’s green-tech dominance. With China leading in renewable energy markets and facing accusations of unfair trade practices, tensions between Western nations and China over the future of clean energy are escalating.



In case you missed it

What’s a negative leap second? How climate change is affecting our time keeping

✍️ Enjoying this newsletter?  Subscribe to our free weekly briefings on Preparing for AI, Cinema & AI, The Race to Net Zero, AI & DeepTech and The Future of Work.

You can relive CogX Festival 2023 on our YouTube Channel now. And make sure you join us in person next year - get your super early bird tickets for Festival 2024 now!

bottom of page