The future is clean

Source: M. (Maroš) Sefčovič i, published on Monday, November 14 2016.

By Maroš Šefčovič, Vice President of the Europan Commission and Bertrand Piccard, Initiator, Chairman and Pilot of Solar Impulse


The pace of human progress is sometimes surprising. For many years, the transition to clean and #renewable energy was perceived as a marginal field, one which disrupts economic activity and therefore finds few supporters. In fact, today last year, there was still great sense of uncertainty and genuine anxiety on whether the international community would manage to reach an agreement at the Paris Climate Conference (Also known as #COP21). Scientific evidence was indicating clearly that this might be our last chance to fight #climateChange and save ourselves from an unprecedented disaster.

Yet it wasn't clear until the last minute whether world leaders would manage to agree on how to move forward.

/commission/file/paris-agreement-signing-ceremony-un-headquarters-ny_enParis Agreement Signing Ceremony at the UN headquarters in NY

Video of Paris Agreement Signing Ceremony at the UN headquarters in NY

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It was hard to imagine a year ago that after years of hard negotiations, the Agreement would be ratified so quickly by so any governments.

Following the EU ratification, the Paris Agreement surpassed its 55% threshold which pushed it into force before the ongoing #COP22 Climate Conference in Marrakesh even started. The current Conference was foreseen for setting the technical rules to ensure smooth, transparent, and responsible implementation of the historic Agreement. But the ratification went faster even that that.

/commission/file/action-time_enAction Time

Video of Action Time

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It is in this spirit of global ambitious climate action that we are moving forward. On Friday, for example, the Solar Impulse Foundation launched the World Alliance for Clean Technologies, federating the main actors in the field of clean technologies, in order to create synergies, promote profitable solutions, provide credible advice to decision-makers. This morning, the newly formed Global Compact of Mayors, representing 7,100 cities from around the world, announces the global impact of its climate action.

Both examples show the need not only to act but to act across the traditional silos, to act together. That's what drove us us, initiator of the first solar plane which flew around the world with zero fuel, and a European Commission Vice President for Energy Union - to speak in one voice, make the case for clean energy, and communicate about it jointly.


So now that public opinion is favourable, the political will is there, a legal agreement is in place, it's #ActionTime. We are now at the most difficult part but also most rewarding part: embracing the green technological revolution which the energy transition entails. This is the giant leap from the old world of fossil-fuelled economy to the new world, which is digital, innovative and clean.

/commission/file/cop21-climate-change-opportunity_enCOP21 : Climate Change is an opportunity

Video of COP21 : Climate Change is an opportunity

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Despite what some people might still believe, economic growth and the transition to low-carbon economy go perfectly hand in hand.

In the EU, for example, between 1990 and 2014, GDP grew by 46% while emissions decreased by 23%.

So not only is climate action compatible with boosting economic competitiveness, but the two reinforce each other; creating exciting new opportunities for science, for innovation, for trade, for development, etc.

That is why we are continuously committed to push, promote, persuade, and showcase what a new clean future could and should look like. Today we would like to say loud and clear: the #FutureIsClean and it its clean tech will be the El Dorado of the 21st century.