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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 | 01.06.24

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This week we dive into a new study revealing a surprising culprit behind microplastic pollution, take a look at the EU's ambitious Net-Zero Industry Act, and explore the complex emotions surrounding parenthood in a changing climate. Should we be having babies in a warming world?


Elsewhere we spotlight the startups making solar energy more accessible and leading the way in direct air capture technology.

We hope you enjoy these stories and more below.

Top Stories

⚡ The EU is revving up its green tech engine with a new law aimed at grabbing a bigger share of the global cleantech market. The Net-Zero Industry Act (NZIA) kicks in this June, targeting 40% domestic production of solar panels, wind turbines, and other key technologies by 2030.

  • This move comes as competition heats up, with the US and China vying for clean tech dominance.

🔋 EU, Australia strike critical minerals supply deal amid tech rivalry with China. This deal aims to lessen Europe's dependence on China, which dominates the market for these crucial materials. Australia boasts vast deposits of lithium, cobalt, and other minerals needed for electric vehicles, solar panels, and wind turbines. 

🚨 How one of the most revered climate groups descended into chaos. The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTI), a key group shaping corporate climate action, is in crisis. A proposed policy change allowing companies to use carbon offsets to reduce supply chain emissions sparked outrage from staff and environmentalists.


Chart of the Week

The cost of lithium-ion batteries, a key component in EVs, continues to fall.  In 2023, the average price of a lithium-ion battery pack dropped to $139 per kilowatt-hour, down from over $160 just a year earlier.

Climate Change

👶🏻 Should we be having babies in a warming world? A new book by Jade Sasser, "Climate Anxiety and the Kid Question," dives into the difficult question of whether to have children in a world facing climate change. 

  • The book explores the emotional and ethical considerations, particularly how these factors weigh on different racial groups.

🥤 Ditch brightly coloured plastic, anti-waste researchers tell firms. A new study suggests that red, blue and green plastic decomposes faster than other colours, breaking down into microplastics that pollute the environment and may even be linked to health problems.



Stat of the week 

In 2023, the clean energy sector's workforce grew to over

36 million

globally, outstripping the number of individuals employed in the fossil fuel industry. (IEA)


Green Tech

🔆 Cloover, a climate-focused fintech company, has secured $114 million to make solar energy more accessible in Europe. Their platform connects installers, consumers, and financiers, offering subscription plans for solar panels and batteries instead of upfront costs.

🏭 Global capacity to directly suck CO2 from air has just quadrupled. A new plant in Iceland, called Mammoth, can capture a staggering 36,000 tonnes of CO2 per year – more than quadrupling the entire world's existing carbon removal capacity.

🚛 PepsiCo powers trucks with vegetable oil to reduce emissions. This eco-friendly move is expected to cut greenhouse gas emissions by a whopping 85% compared to regular diesel


☢️ Japan will likely restart world’s biggest nuclear plant this year, BNEF says. This restart could bring down electricity prices and is part of Japan's plan to get nuclear back in the energy mix. But challenges remain – they need to revive more reactors to meet their clean energy goals.



In case you missed it

What would happen if we did nothing to fight climate change? Here's a glimpse of what that future world might look like:

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