Interview: China drives global climate action with economical solutions, says Swiss explorer Bertrand Piccard


China has scaled up its renewable energy investment over the years as it pursues low-carbon and green development.

by Martina Fuchs

GENEVA, Dec. 11 (Xinhua) — China is a driving force in global climate action in boosting renewable energy sources and relevant investments, a famed Swiss environmentalist said during the ongoing COP28 in Dubai.

“We need the cheapest possible renewable energy in solar, wind, biomass, biogas, hydroelectricity, geothermal, and so on. I have to say that I admire very much all the work of the Chinese innovators and the Chinese industries to produce this at a cheap price,” Bertrand Piccard, founder and chairman of the Solar Impulse Foundation, told Xinhua during COP28, or the 28th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

“There is a climate urgency, which is coupled with an economic imperative to be efficient, and the solutions exist. We have all the solutions we need to become efficient and reduce the waste in every sector,” he said.

Piccard is also an adventurer himself. Together with Brian Jones, Piccard was the first to complete a non-stop balloon flight around the globe in a balloon named Breitling Orbiter 3 in 1999. The United Nations Environment Programme designated him a Champion of the Earth in 2012.

In 2016, Piccard and co-pilot Andre Borschberg completed their first-ever solar-powered flight worldwide together with the airplane Solar Impulse.

“My goal is really to have cheap energy that is clean for the world. This is the only way to save the world,” he said, praising China’s efforts in this respect.

An exhibitor introduces a product to a visitor at the booth of Chinese portable power and renewable energy company EcoFlow during the IFA 2023 in Berlin, capital of Germany, on Sept. 1, 2023. (Xinhua/Ren Pengfei)

China has scaled up its renewable energy investment over the years as it pursues low-carbon and green development.

Three years ago, China announced at the 75th Session of the United Nations General Assembly its pledge to have CO2 emissions peak before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060.

Regarding global climate action, Piccard said a top priority will be creating an efficiency fund that brings together investors who understand that “efficiency pays for itself.”

“We now have 1,600 economically profitable solutions for climate action and the protection of the environment,” Piccard said of his foundation, which has been committed to identifying solutions to better protect the environment in a financially profitable way.

Equally important is to spread the narrative to overcome the resistance to climate action, he said. “There is an economic imperative to stop wasting money on inefficient and polluting things that can be modernized.” ■

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