In today’s edition:
⚡️ Micro-wind farms
💊 A new wonder drug?
🏆 Earthshot prize winners
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💼 Big Business (1-minute read)
Biden says he can "tweak" the inflation act to include European countries
What happened: Biden announced the Inflation Reduction Act in August with a whopping $369 billion package to support clean, green technologies. The law was a landmark victory in tackling the climate crisis, but controversy followed. Big car-making nations like France and Germany complained that the U.S. law was potentially illegal for discriminating against foreign companies in the electric vehicle sector and encouraging consumers to "Buy American” through subsidies.
What’s changed: After a meeting with French President Emanuel Macron, the two presidents promised practical steps to coordinate and align climate policy to strengthen and secure green supply chains, manufacturing, and innovation on both sides of the Atlantic.
Why it matters: Enhancing supply chain and trade resilience through better coordination and diversification can strengthen the security of green tech supply chains. There have also been calls for the EU to double down on their own (complimentary) version of the Inflation Reduction Act.
Micro-wind farms a potential solution to Britain's Energy Crunch
What’s happened: A tightening of planning restrictions in the UK has effectively stopped new onshore wind farms from being built. At the same time, The UK is facing pressure to ease regulation as bills soar, with onshore wind advocates pointing out that onshore wind can be delivered at a quarter of the cost of wholesale electricity prices.
What’s New: A pig-food manufacturer in England accomplished a rare achievement in getting permission to install a wind turbine. While not a monumental move of the needle on its own, the permission places further momentum on campaigners looking to reverse the seven-year-old ban.
Potential: Octopus Energy Group analysed UK sites with suitable characteristics like wind speed and grid capacity and found enough sites to add at least 2.3 gigawatts of new capacity. That’s nearly 16% of the UK’s current onshore wind fleet and enough to power more than 1.8 million homes.
Asda guarantees cheaper refills VS pre-packaged products
A survey of more than 2,000 adults earlier this year found that 40% believe refillable or other plastic-free options at grocery stores are expensive = a significant barrier to adoption. UK supermarket Asda promised that refill offers will always be cheaper than packaged alternatives. Asda shoppers in various UK locations can pick up refillable cereals, pet food, tea/coffee, pasta and cleaning products, among other produce. Refill stations provide consumers with cheaper options and the exact amounts needed (helping stick to budgets) while reducing food and packaging waste.
🤖 Future of Tech (1-minute read)
New Alzheimer's drug — a momentous breakthrough
Dementia is a collective term for a group of diseases/injuries which affect the brain, with Alzheimer’s being one of the most common of these — accounting for 60-70% of cases. The number of dementia cases is expected to rise to 78 million by 2030 (from 55mn currently) at an expected cost of $2.8 trillion. The new drug, lecanemab, has been shown to slow the cognitive decline associated with the disease by attacking the protein clumps in the brain that many believe cause the disease. Currently, people with Alzheimer’s are given drugs to help manage their symptoms but none to change the course of the disease, so lecanemab is seen as a triumphant turning point.
A glimmer of hope, but… The scientists behind the discovery state that the benefits are small and come with side effects. Nevertheless, it’s undoubtedly progress and has been hailed by Alzheimer’s Research UK as “a major step forwards”.
Rolls-Royce tests hydrogen-fueled aircraft engine in world's first
Flying is difficult to decarbonise, and technologies (such as electric or hydrogen-powered aircraft) are still years away from carrying a plane full of people over long distances. This goal has taken a step closer to becoming a reality, with Rolls-Royce successfully testing hydrogen as power for a modern aircraft engine. The ground test of a converted “turboprop” engine (typically found in military aircraft) used green hydrogen as fuel generated by wind and tidal power.
Importance: Although the test didn’t involve flying, it’s part of a new hydrogen demonstration programme in partnership with EasyJet, and marks another critical step in proving hydrogen can play a viable role in reducing emissions from aviation (while also being commercially viable).
💡 Deep Dive (1-minute read)
Winners of the Earthshot Prize
The Earthshot Prize is awarded to five winners each year for their contributions to environmentalism. It was first awarded in 2021 and is planned to run annually until 2030. Each winner receives a grant of £1 million to continue their environmental work.
Here were this year's winners:
- Fix our Climate prize: 44.01 - Oman based 44.01 removes CO2 permanently by capturing it and mineralising it into rock in the ground
- Clean our air prize: Mukuru Clean Stoves - Across Africa, 700 Million people use traditional cookstoves, which emit harmful chemicals and lack safeguards. Rather than burning dangerous solid fuels, Mukuru Clean Stoves use processed biomass made from charcoal, wood and sugarcane. This burns cleaner, creating 90% less pollution than an open fire and 70 per cent less than a traditional cookstove. They are cheaper, too, costing just $10 — halving fuel costs.
- Revive our Oceans prize: Indigenous Women of the Great Barrier Reef - in Queensland, only 20% of indigenous rangers, are women. That’s where the Queensland Indigenous Women Rangers Network comes in. Over the past four years, the network has helped build the next generation of women rangers. Their work combines ancient knowledge with most modern tools, like drones that monitor coral changes, forest fires and land degradation. Their work is vital. Their data has given us critical insight into one of the most important ecosystems on the planet.
- Build A Waste-Free World: NotPla - 6.3 Billion tonnes of untreated plastic waste currently litter our streets and fill our seas. NotPla produces seaweed packaging alternatives at scale.
- Protect and Restore Nature Winner: Kheyti - Eight in Ten of the World’s farmers are smallholders beset by climate-affected harvests. Kheyti’s Greenhouse-In-A-Box is helping them reduce climate risk and increase yields for vulnerable farming communities.
Some hugely inspiring concepts that, thanks to the Earthshot prize, are one step closer to impact at scale. Take 5 minutes to check them all out.
💭 Little Bytes
Quote: “Don’t tell Africans they can’t use their own resources” Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari
Stat: 79% of UK business leaders saw the impact of greenhouse gas emissions on biodiversity and nature as relevant to their company - The Nature of Business report
Watch: The world’s first 3D printed neighbourhood
🗞 In other news…
- 'Tesco Tinder': New waste-busting service to help suppliers swap surplus stock through the Tesco Exchange in bid to tackle food waste
- BrewDog loses B Corp status after BBC exposé
- EU Targets Big Plastic With Rules to Cut Packaging Waste
- Making sense of Cop15: what to look out for in Montreal
Written by Colin and Ollie - Drop us a message!