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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 | 13.04.24

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This week we cover the extreme weather events making chocolate an even guiltier pleasure, the landmark climate inaction ruling by the European Court of Human Rights and the sobering message from the UN’s climate chief. But the forecast isn’t solely gloomy, we also spotlight ingenious startups rethinking heat storage and the Latin American leaders fighting to save the Amazon.

We hope you enjoy these stories and more below.

PS. CogX Transatlantic Accelerator Early Bird offer closes on 15th April: 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

🍫  The global cocoa industry is facing a potential "chocolate meltdown" as producers of the beloved crop have been hit hard by extreme weather conditions exacerbated by climate change and the El Niño weather phenomenon.


⚖️ European court rules human rights violated by climate inaction. The case, brought by the Senior Women for Climate Protection, marks the first climate case victory in the European Court of Human Rights.


🌎 Humanity has just 2 years ‘to save the world,’ UN climate chief Simon Stiell says. Speaking at an event at the Chatham House think-tank in London, Stiell stressed the immediate need for action. He said the next two years are "essential in saving our planet”.


⚡ EU-China tech rivalry intensifies as green transition takes centre stage. The EU has announced a new round of investigations into Chinese wind turbine manufacturers, citing concerns over unfair competition due to foreign subsidies.


🌱 Carbon credits market to get a huge boost as rules relaxed. The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) will now allow companies to use carbon credits to reduce their full scope of emissions, including those from value chains, known as Scope 3 emissions.


Chart of the Week

The global capacity for carbon capture in 2030 will need to increase sixfold from today’s level, to 446 million tons of CO2 captured per year, according to IEA scenarios.

Climate Change

🐒 Mining for EV metals threatens gorillas and chimpanzees in Africa. 180,000 chimpanzees, bonobos, and gorillas live within 50 km of operational or planned mining sites, putting them at risk from habitat loss and disease spillover.


🌳 Political action by leaders in Brazil and Colombia led to significant declines in tropical forest loss in 2023, with tree felling in the Brazilian Amazon dropping by 39% compared to the previous year.


🏭 G20 Nations stall on decarbonisation efforts as US, UK, and EU backtrack. Despite the growing urgency of the climate crisis, the world's 20 largest economies have made little progress in implementing policies to support decarbonisation efforts over the past year.


💰 A $40 billion fund is gambling with Europe’s climate goal. While central to the bloc’s plan of becoming carbon neutral by 2050, the EU’s fund has seen mixed results in its early stages.



Stat of the week 

Rising greenhouse gas concentrations helped make March 2024 about


warmer than the 1991-2020 average for March, and 0.10°C above the previous high set in March 2016., said the EU's Copernicus Climate Change Service last week.


Green Tech

🔥 Salt, air and bricks: could this be the future of energy storage? Start-ups like Kyoto Group, Malta, Rondo, Sunamp and Highview Power are developing thermal batteries that can store vast amounts of heat using everyday materials.


🚀 Oxford based Space Solar achieved the world's first 360-degree wireless power transmission, a critical step towards realising its vision of beaming energy from orbiting solar farms to Earth at any angle. 


🥚 Finnish startup Onego Bio has raised €37m to develop its innovative animal-free egg protein which the company says can replace 6 million laying hens with just 2 million litres of fermentation capacity.


⚛️ The race is on to commercialise fusion energy. Experts believe fusion could generate grid electricity at a viable cost by 2035, making it a crucial complement to intermittent renewables.



In case you missed it

Are small wildfires actually beneficial for the environment? A team of ecologists argues that they are, and they have the data to prove it:

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