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Embracing the clean technology revolution
07/11 - 2016

Embracing the clean technology revolution

Fighting climate change is a fantastic opportunity for economical development and quality of life, not only for the environment. It’s the adventure of the 21st century. We have to embrace it with openness and enthusiasm – it’s a profitable and logical way to have a cleaner, healthier and richer world. 

More than breaking world records with Solar Impulse, the goal of the first round the world solar flight was a symbolic demonstration that clean technologies and renewable energies can achieve impossible goals. Both developed and developing countries would benefit from these technologies which represent the biggest new business opportunity of this century.

Today, our work is continuing in the form of the World Alliance for Clean Technologies– destined to unite the main global actors in the field of clean technologies with the aim to develop synergies, communicate with a stronger voice and implement tangible solutions to help governments, businesses and international institutions meet their environmental and health targets.  

Public awareness is not the only ingredient needed to spark true change; we need political courage. Efficient technologies, like the ones used on Solar Impulse, already exist and could divide by 2 the CO2 emissions. However, the world still needs incentives, legal frameworks and policies, to encourage their massive implementation on a global scale.

Is it logical that our communication technologies are so cutting-edge, while we still use the same energetic systems – incandescent light bulbs, combustion engines, housing insulation, heating and cooling systems and electricity distribution networks – since 100 years?

Today, clean technologies are finally reliable and profitable. More so, their implementation should not require any behavioral or financial sacrifices. Even if you may not realize it, inefficient polluting devices are becoming more and more expensive.

This is why I have been attending international conferences such as COP 15, 21 and 22. And this year’s objective is clear: the parties need to implement the existing solutions to deliver on the goals that were agreed upon in Paris, in particular with regard to targeted financing and investments in clean and efficient energy. 

The clean energy sector is already opening up new industrial markets and creating jobs and profit. Employment in the renewable energy sector[1], for instance, increased by 5% in 2015 to reach an estimated 8.1 million jobs. In addition, the annual global investment in new renewables capacity in 2015[2] – at $266 billion – was more than double the estimated $130 billion invested in coal and gas power stations.

We need to embrace this new industrial revolution, not because it’s “eco-logical,” but because it’s “logical.” Even if climate change didn’t exist in the world today, renewable energy and clean technologies would make sense: to reduce CO2 emissions and protect natural resources, but also to create jobs, generate profits and boost sustainable growth.

Bertrand Piccard
Initiator, Chairman and Pilot of Solar Impulse
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Blog published in partnership with Caran d'Ache


[1] Renewable Energy and Jobs – Annual Review 2016: International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)

[2] 10th edition of the UN Environment Programme's (UNEP's) annual publication: Frankfurt School-UNEP Collaborating Centre for Climate & Sustainable Energy Finance and Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF)