The explorer and pilot of Solar Impulse has been selected by the French government as one of the representatives of civil society that will address the G7, calling for brave policies that will turn the tide in the climate crisis.
Bertrand Piccard, who has long advocated for more ambitious climate policies thanks to financially profitable solutions, has been invited as part of the One Planet Lab organized by the French government to contribute to this year’s G7, to be held in Biarritz from August 24 to 26, 2019.
The 45th edition of the G7, under the French Presidency, will be more inclusive than previous editions, introducing representatives from other major democracies as well as civil society, and will focus on fighting inequality in its many forms – a recognition of the destabilising impact that disparities between the haves and have-nots creates on global politics.
Recognising that climate change impacts will do much to exacerbate such inequalities, protection of the environment will be a cornerstone of this edition of G7.
“That climate change will increase inequality is evident, and we know that increased inequality limits the space for good policy. But we need to turn this whole discussion around; we have to address climate change in a way that shows to the economical world that clean and energy efficient solutions are the industrial market of the century to create new jobs and make more profit. So it is not only about protecting the environment and fighting inequality, it’s about generating a qualitative growth, and this can be a big motivation for many,” declares Piccard.
Piccard’s intervention at the G7, on Monday August 26, will mirror his work with the One Planet Lab and focus on advancing clean mobility and decarbonizing the transport sector. He will emphasize to Heads of State the need for reducing the environmental impact of the maritime sector, which accounts for 90% of world trade and 3% of greenhouse gas emissions, and where the majority of ships are powered through low-quality, highly polluting bunker fuel.
“Needless to say, decarbonising an industry which emits as much CO2 as a country like Germany will take time. We need to combine ambitious short-term measures – a ban on bunker fuel, speed limits, shore power for docked boats – with long-term policies and investments to make the sector cleaner and more efficient,” adds Piccard.
The solutions recommended by Bertrand Piccard are the result of the work of his Solar Impulse Foundation for the One Planet Lab. This think-tank, created by French President Emmanuel Macron, brings together 31 international leaders to identify innovative solutions and actions, create new coalitions and make specific suggestions on fighting climate change, and is part of President Macron’s effort to bring the climate crisis to the table and confront the issue.
Piccard is the co-lead of the carbon neutrality workstream of the One Planet Lab, a role he shares with Laurence Tubiana of the European Climate Foundation. Specifically, Piccard, as Chairman of the Solar Impulse Foundation and following his successful round-the-world solar flight, has been leading a working group on green mobility since the start of the year, which aims to reduce emissions related to transport in general – which accounts for 23% of global CO2 emissions related to energy.