WEF Davos 2016 LIVE: “CO2 is not the problem, it is the symptom”, the pilots who crossed the world using solar energy cry out from Davos

World Economic Forum 2016: Congress Center

DAVOS/SWITZERLAND, 19JAN16 – View of the Congress Center with the different flags of participating countries ahead of the Annual Meeting 2016 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 19, 2016. WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM/swiss-image.ch/Photo Michael Buholzer

The World Economic Forum 2016 in Davos opened its doors earlier this morning with the first major session of the day and of the Forum being on Climate Change. Its title was “Around the World without Fuel or Fear” and it took place in the Congress Hall of the Davos Congress Centre.

The stimulating session that just finished a few minutes ago, was chaired by Al Gore, former Vice-President of the United States of America from 1993 to 2001 and currently Chairman and Co-Founder of the Generation Investment Management LLP. Mr Gore is a major stakeholder in clean energy and the climate change combat. He was joined by the two initiators of the Solar Impulse project, Mr Bertrand Piccard, Initiator and Chairman and pilot, and André Borschberg, Co-Founder and CEO and pilot. Solar Impulse is the well known experimental solar-powered aircraft project with which these two gentlemen have been trying to reach the “impossible”, as they say, circumnavigate the globe since 2010. They achieved it last year.

Good old “green” Gore

Mr Gore opened up the session by trying to liaise COP21 that took place last December in Paris with the ongoing World Economic Forum in Davos. “WEF happens on the aftermath of COP21 in Paris…a historic achievement (whose) outcomes exceeded the highest end of range of expectations”, he said.

Further, the American “green” entrepreneur, referring to the successful result of the COP21 in Paris, he emphasised on the need to swift from our 150 years old fossil fuel economy to a green sustainable one. “Everyone is convinced that we must change after all”, he underlined.

“195 nations said  yes we will change in COP21. We now know the direction where we are heading; how will we accomplish the change that we can and must be accomplished”, he continued.

The “green” Daedalus and Icarus

The biggest and most interesting part of the session though was covered by the presentation of Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, the two pilots that set their mind into flying around the globe using only solar energy and no fossil fuel use.

Mr Piccard commenced his presentation like this: “A few years ago the protection of the environment was always presented as something boring. We were asking people to have less economic development…”. He sees now a global change into this, as climate change becomes more and more an important part of the media and policy agenda.

“Solar impulse shows that without fuel we can do better than with fuel” he underscores. However, according to the French doctor-pilot, “CO2 is not the problem, it is the symptom”. Mr Piccard mainly emphasised on the fact that the biggest issue is that we are using outdated technologies with very little efficiency. He brought the examples there of the combustion engines that have 27% efficiency or light bulbs with only 5% efficiency.

On the contrary, clean energy has a very high level of efficiency and this is what we should be looking at, according to him: electric cars, insulation technologies, smart grid etc. Most importantly, the French initiator showed his commitment that green energy will bring job creation and profit by replacing the existing technologies with modern technologies that exist today.

“We can’t live in a world where there will be so many energy losses”, he highlights.

Later, the pilot of the Solar Impulse plane, Mr André Borschberg, who crossed the world with no fossil fuel energy took the floor to share his experience in the cockpit of that plane.

“What we believe is impossible, is in fact easy and profitable. Everyone knows that we have to decarbonize the world.”, he continued.

The Swiss pilot shared with the world the technical difficulties that this project had in the first place e.g. how to make the plane weigh no more than the weight of a car. He also mentioned that when they first presented their project to big  manufacturers in the aviation industry, the plane that would only use solar energy to fly during the day and the night, they just said to them that it is “impossible”.

Mr Piccard took again the microphone, to give some inspiring comments about how the world must see green energy and technologies. “If we want to innovate, if we want to achieve the impossible, we dont need new ideas…If we want to be innovative, we need to change altitude. We need to drop ballast. Our ballast is called certitudes, paradigms, beliefs. When we throw it we can explore all different levels. Freedom is where we can think about everything.”

All in all, the two pilots gave an inspiring presentation and speech about how green technology is being heavily expansive around the world today in the fight against climate change.

With the outstanding paradigm of their solar plane project, they  gave to the public an optimistic viewpoint of the future of sustainable energy in this world.

Stay tuned from 20 to 23 January as the Sting will be once more producing top class critical LIVE media coverage from the Congress Centre in Davos, Switzerland. 

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