12 March 2021 Reads

Mar 12, 2021


Saudi Arabia bets on hydrogen. Honestly, it’s just a start. But it says a lot where things are going.

China is off to a slow start on climate. It says it wants to go net-zero by 2060, but it looks like they are going to rely on coal for a long time… 

This Bloomberg piece says for Japan to go net-zero, it needs its nuclear energy plants. It’s not just a technical issue, it’s obviously a socio-political issue.

Financial Times is doing a series on the hydrogen economy. A signpost for greater investment and then deployment of hydrogen in the world.

Direct Air Capture — its necessity. Carbon prices will be useful for companies that will need to survive on other companies paying them to get rid of their carbon. 

Once finance has to consider climate goals, and once there are clear standards, the whole economy will turn there. Finance (and capitalism) might end up accelerating the transition to a low-carbon future. 

Back in 2018, there was already a report from UNDP on decarbonizing the Middle East. If there’s demand for knowledge on decarbonising the Middle East… I can imagine solar power farms powering hydrogen production using fossil fuels, and then chucking the carbon dioxide in underground caverns or in greenhouses growing crops. Who knows.

Its hydrogen fuel cells vs batteries in the automotive industry. Hydrogen seems to be a convoluted way to move cars — the entire production chain seems unwieldy for now. 

Green steel is going to be absolutely necessary. Moving steel production away from using coal would be a massive step to decarbonise civilisation. 

Decarbonisation X Geopolitics

Of course the decarbonisation push will also become an arena for geopolitics. Why would it not?

Australia-Japan forming a partnership on hydrogen. Australia pivoting away from supplying China with coal — now on a different route. Can’t help but think of the Quad figuring in these. 

Technology X Geopolitics

China is cracking down on its own big-tech — curtailing their political power and perhaps wanting more cooperation from them on data sharing for a national effort on surveilling people?

At the same time, China is also investing in its own tech companies as well. I suppose they can grow but the CPC will always want to be in the lead. 

An essay from a Chinese thinker about how China should shy away from existing US-centric networks and build their own networks to not be vulnerable to any current network-based attacks from the US and Europe.

 Commentary from War on the Rocks — that the conflict with Chinese techno-nationalism is already here.  

There is an ongoing hack on Microsoft Exchange servers, said to be started by a China-state-affiliated group. 


The Quad — the diplomatic-economic-security talk shop between US, Japan, India and Australia talks about rare earth supply. When people talk about rare earths, they are of course, really talking about China, which has a dominant share of global spply. 

Technology Matters

The Tech Giants — FAANGs — need to be watchful of Tim Wu. One of the OGs of thinking about big tech and antitrust. 

New Yorker essay on who should stop unethical AI

Tech companies betting that AR will come after smartphone. For this sorts of things, you only believe it when you see it. 

I’m tending to think that photonic approach to quantum computers might be the winning one, but its still early days yet.

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