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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 | 22.06.24

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This week we cover the trade war brewing between Europe and China over EV’s, EU’s new landmark Nature Restoration Law and a massive UN survey revealing overwhelming public support for stronger climate action.


Elsewhere, we spotlight the world's first AI-powered ‘digital twin’ of Earth and a pioneering scaleup aiming to store renewable energy using just air.


We hope you enjoy these stories and more below.

Top Stories

🇪🇺 The EU is pushing back: Facing a flood of cheaper Chinese EVs and lagging behind in technology, the EU is considering using tariffs as leverage to pressure Chinese carmakers to set up joint ventures in Europe.


🚗 The EV slowdown is making net zero harder. Despite strong growth in some regions, including California and a few Nordic nations, most countries are not on track to eliminate emissions from cars and trucks by 2050.


🌱 A massive UN survey reveals overwhelming public support for stronger climate action. 80% of people globally want leaders to take bolder steps to tackle the climate crisis. This sentiment is strong even in major emitting countries, with over 66% of people in the US and Russia having the same sentiment.

🏝️ How the small Pacific island nation of Vanuatu drastically cut plastic pollution. Once choked by plastic waste, the country implemented a ban on single-use plastics in 2018. This, along with community efforts, has led to a significant reduction in plastic waste.

Chart of the Week

China is a major driver of Europe's electric vehicle boom. According to Adamas Intelligence, nearly 113,000 EVs sold in Europe (including UK and non-EU states) in the first quarter of 2024 originated from China.

Climate Change

✊ Climate protests in the UK escalated as activists targeted a private jet believed to belong to singer Taylor Swift at a London airport. The protest came a day after Just Stop Oil activists sprayed orange paint on the prehistoric monument of Stonehenge.


🌳 EU Passes Landmark Nature Restoration Law. Amidst fierce opposition from some member states including Finland, Hungary and Poland, the EU passed a groundbreaking law requiring the restoration of 20% of its land and sea by 2030.


❗ Microplastics found in penises raise concerns. A research paper published in IJIR: Your Sexual Medicine Journal found microplastics in four out of five tissue samples from men undergoing surgery for erectile dysfunction. 

  • While the health impact of microplastics remains unclear, they've been shown to cause cellular damage and inflammation.


🤔 Big talk, but no action? Corporate climate commitments are falling short, according to a new CDP report analysing over 23,000 companies globally. The study revealed a significant gap between pledges and concrete action plans.


Stat of the week 

EV sales are expected to make up almost


of the light-vehicle market in 2024, according to EV Volumes.


Green Tech

🏭 Are there are too many battery factories? While demand for lithium-ion cells is on the rise, a surge in planned factories - particularly in China - could lead to a massive oversupply by the end of the decade. 


  • By 2026, production capacity could be five times higher than what the global economy actually needs.


🔋 Highview Power secures £300M to build UK’s first liquid air battery. By converting air into a liquid at very low temperatures this innovative technology can store excess renewable energy, like wind or solar power. 

  • The initial plant will boast a capacity of 300 MWh, enough to power roughly 300,000 homes.


🌿 Algae = the new renewable electricity source? Researchers have developed a method to harness energy from algae's photosynthesis, creating a zero-emission power source that also removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. 


🌎 An AI-powered ‘digital twin’ of the Earth. The EU has launched its first version of Destination Earth (DestinE), an AI-powered simulation of the earth capable of analysing vast amounts of data to predict extreme weather events, and the long-term effects of climate change.



In case you missed it

Beyond the immediate pollution from vehicles, war leaves a lasting scar on the environment and its inhabitants.

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