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 | 20.04.24

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

This week we dive into how extreme heat is putting even more pressure on our underwater ecosystems, explore the seven nations already generating 100% of their energy through renewables, and uncover climate change's true economic impact (brace yourself, we're talking trillions!).


Elsewhere, we spotlight the ingenious startups turning CO2 into fuel, hanging giant mirrors in space and developing methane-munching microbes in our CogX must-reads of the week.

We hope you enjoy these stories and more below.

Top Stories

💸  Climate change will cost global economy $38 trillion every year, scientists warn. The research, published in the journal Nature, predicts that the costs of climate-related damage could reduce average world incomes by 19% in 2050.

🌎 Seven countries now generate 100% of their electricity from renewable energy. Countries such as Albania, Bhutan, and Iceland have already transformed their electricity production to rely almost entirely on renewables. An additional 40 nations — including Germany and Scotland — are getting over half their electricity from clean sources.


🐼 WWF wades into row over proposed changes to SBTi standards, which would allow companies to use carbon credits to cut Scope 3 emissions. The wildlife charity, a co-founder of SBTi, said that carbon offsets “cannot be a substitute for reducing emissions” and urged the initiative to ensure strong safeguards.


⚡ England could produce 13 times more renewable energy, using less than 3% of land. This analysis — conducted by Friends of the Earth — suggests onshore wind and solar could power all English households more than twice over, without affecting food production.


Chart of the Week

The year 2023 ended with a new record for new wind turbine installations. In total, the world added 117 GW of new wind capacity within one year, more than ever before.

Climate Change

✈️ Reducing reliance on fossil air is travel’s biggest climate challenge. A new $200 million plant from LanzaJet aims to produce 9 million gallons of sustainable aviation fuel annually. But it would take 100 such plants to meet just 1% of demand.


🌱 Our plans to tackle climate change with carbon storage don't add up.  This technology seen as crucial for meeting climate goals might be too unrealistic to rely on, according to new research.


🪸 Oceans are ‘feeling’ the heat. Rising temperatures are causing a second global coral bleaching event in just ten years, threatening crucial marine ecosystems which account for 80% of the planet's biodiversity.


🤒 Climate change is making us sick. From ancient "zombie" diseases trapped in melting permafrost to deadlier strains of bacteria in warmer oceans, climate change is a major health threat, especially for those in vulnerable communities.



Stat of the week 

The world installed 117 gigawatts of new wind power capacity in 2023, a


increase from previous years, making it the biggest year for new wind projects on record.


Green Tech

🥛 Water and CO2, could this be the future of sustainable fuels? A US-based startup, Infinium, is capturing CO2 emissions from refineries and combining it with hydrogen from renewable sources to create synthetic e-fuel, which could one-day power trucks, aeroplanes, and even ships.


🚀 Giant mirrors hung in space. A bright future for solar power? The European Space Agency is exploring a mind-bending plan to reflect sunlight onto solar farms back on Earth, potentially extending daylight hours and boosting solar power generation by up to 60%.


🦠 California startup Windfall Bio raised $28 million to continue developing its secret weapon against climate change: methane-eating microbes. These specially-developed microorganisms can gobble up methane, a potent greenhouse gas, from sources like farms and landfills.


🛰️ Tree-planting search engine Ecosia to monitor reforestation from space. Using satellite data and AI systems, they are creating "digital twins" of forests, allowing the company to track tree growth and impact more accurately.



In case you missed it

Globally, just 1% of the population generates over half of all emissions from the aviation sector. This begs the question: can flying ever be clean?

✍️ 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