Bertrand Piccard: Clean Technologies Crucial to Sustainable Future
The first man to complete a non-stop balloon flight around the world and the visionary behind the only airplane capable of flying day and night without a drop of fuel, Switzerland’s Bertrand Piccard has been designated the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Goodwill Ambassador.
Dr. Piccard received his designation during a ceremony at the Musée de l’Homme in Paris. The Swiss Explorer was in France for the COP 21 conference where he is advocating for an ambitious climate change agreement and a higher uptake of renewable energy.
To bring the world’s attention to the potential of solar energy, he has undertaken earlier this year a seemingly impossible challenge – flying around the world in an exclusively sun-powered airplane.
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Together with André Borschberg Co-founder, CEO and the other Solar Impulse pilot, they have already covered 19,957 kilometres between Abu Dhabi and Hawaii. The most recent leg of their solar journey saw Mr. Borschberg break the world record for longest-ever non-stop flight.
UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said: “In creating the Solar Impulse Foundation Bertrand Piccard has demonstrated how innovation and clean technologies are crucial to a sustainable future. More than this, he and his fellow pilot André Borschberg have shown we are already living in that future.
“When Bertrand’s plane takes off again from Hawaii, people of the world will live the adventure alongside him. As Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Environment Programme, every hour of his flight and preparations will be an opportunity for him and the Solar Impulse team to bring those people closer to a vision UNEP has advocated and supported in our work for many years.”
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Bertrand Piccard said: “This designation is an encouragement to continue showing how many incredible things can be done with renewable energies, but also to implement more energy efficient technologies in our world.”
Dubbed the Inspioneer after having circumnavigated the globe in a hot-air balloon in 1999, Bertrand Piccard has inspired tens of thousands of followers with his adventures and with his message – Future is Clean. His efforts to promote renewable energy were acknowledged by UNEP in 2012 when he received the prestigious Champion of the Earth award.
In his capacity as UNEP Goodwill Ambassador, he will leverage his popularity to convince the world’s policy-makers, entrepreneurs and communities that a carbon-neutral world is not any less possible than flying around the world without fuel.
He will also use the remaining stages of his solar journey to engage with children and youth, inviting them to see the Solar Impulse 2 up close and raising their awareness of efficient energy consumption.
Photo courtesy: UNEP / Solar Impulse