Tackling climate change by supporting development of clean technologies presents a huge opportunity for creating jobs, generating profits and stimulating economic growth, Solar Impulse pilot Bertrand Piccard said ahead of the UN climate talks in Paris.
Speaking in a video message published on the Solar Impulse's YouTube channel, Piccard said that understanding climate change as an expensive problem that needs to be tackled for the sake of future generations is a wrong point of view. Instead, he said, battling the climate change needs to be seen as a profitable economic opportunity.
The opportunity, Piccard explained, lies in the number of technological devices that will need to be developed and replaced if the world wants to avoid extreme climate effects resulting from the increasing global temperatures.
"This will create jobs, make profit, it will boost economic development and growth not only for rich countries but also for poor countries who will get a return on these new investments for the structures and infrastructure in the country," Piccard said.
Old polluting cars, heating systems, industrial processes as well as electronic devices and household appliances will have to be replaced by less polluting and less power-hungry ones.
If the world succeeds in this task, it will halve global energy consumption as well as carbon emissions, Piccard said.
"It's extremely important people start to change their minds and be actors of this huge adventure of the 21st century, not just for the environment but for economic development and quality of life," he said, urging the world’s nations to take action at the upcoming Climate Change Conference in Paris and put necessary legal framework for cutting emissions in place.
Pilot and psychiatrist Piccard is one of two godfathers of the Solar Impulse project, a fully solar-powered plane that attempted to circumnavigate the world this year. Piccard and his colleague engineer and businessman Andre Borschberg were taking turns at the controls of the one-seater plane, taking it from Abi Dhabi to Hawaii.
However, after the record-breaking flight across the Pacific Ocean, the plane had to be grounded due to battery damage it suffered during the challenging five-day journey. The plane is expected to complete the round-the-world trip in April next year.
Watch Bertrand Piccard's message below: