“Let us all reap the benefits of energy productivity”: Bertrand Piccard, pilot of Solar Impulse 2

Reading time: 5 minutes
25 May 2016

LONDON: Dr. Bertrand Piccard, chairman and pilot of Solar Impulse 2, warned that accelerated adoption of clean technology is needed to curb unproductive global energy consumption, in an open letter to the Energy Efficiency Global Forum (EE Global) in Washington D.C.

At the event on May 11-12 – where business leaders from around the world discussed how energy productivity is shaping the transition toward a low carbon economy – The Climate Group launched EP100, a campaign to support companies in their journey to double energy productivity and maximize economic output.

One of the first companies to join EP100, Covestro AG, pledged at EE Global to double its energy productivity by 2030 on a baseline of 2005. Additionally, the world-leading polymers manufacturer aims to halve its carbon emissions by 2025, from a 2005 baseline – with about 40% from energy efficiency increases. Investing in energy efficient technologies and practices is key for improving energy productivity and reducing emissions and costs.

Covestro AG is a major sponsor and technical partner of Solar Impulse 2, an aircraft which is on track to complete the first ever round-the-world flight powered only by the sun. In an open letter to delegates attending EE Global, Prof. Dr. Bertrand Piccard, Initiator, Chairman and Pilot of Solar Impulse 2 said: “Our planet’s energy, climate and economic future are dependent on energy efficiency.”

By joining EP100, companies like Covestro AG are showing how business innovation can shape a more energy efficient, low carbon economy. However Bertrand Piccard warns that adoption of clean technologies is happening “far too slow” because there is no sensible legal framework for energy efficiency – and so the world is continuing to use outdated, polluting technology.

“The efficiency of combustion engines, light bulbs, heating systems, air conditioning and electricity distribution systems are so catastrophic that one wonders why we still use them,” he said.


Old technologies, explained Bertrand Piccard, are responsible not only for more than half of global CO2 emissions, but also for the stagnation of the world’s economy. He calls for the accelerated adoption of clean technologies, which can make a significant dent in global emissions and boost economic output.

“Conversely, electric mobility, LED lighting, thermal insulation in buildings, heat pumps and smart grids would halve the energy consumption, and thus CO2 emissions,” he added. “The benefit does not only come from the reduction of the energy bill, but also the fabulous industrial market that would result from replacing older obsolete systems by modern clean technologies.”

“As long as society is allowed to waste energy and send tons of CO2 into the atmosphere, almost nobody will move. Not everyone has the pioneering spirit.”


Forward-thinking businesses such as those who have joined EP100, are demonstrating the benefits brought by cleaner products and more energy efficient processes. “This is evident when I simply look at the Solar Impulse partners: Covestro, ABB, Schindler, Solvay, are just a few of the big companies that are driving change in industry,” said Bertrand Piccard.

He concluded his letter by underlying the crucial role of governments in shaping policy frameworks that will help businesses achieve their bold climate targets.

“It is the politicians that we must now convince and include in the process,” wrote Bertrand Piccard. “While a short-term financial motivation often comes before the desire to protect the environment, both are simultaneously possible today. Let us all reap the benefits of this.”

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