Fourth Day at COP21

Thursday 3rd December 2015

Agents 001 and 002 have now been at COP21 for three days, and saying they’ve had a lot on their plate would be an understatement. Following the pilots everywhere, talking to more people they ever thought possible, managing the social networks, and keeping an eye open for clean and appealing solutions.

Five minutes break, finally. But the two workaholics can’t let go of their smartphones and decide to film what’s happening around them to share with the worldwide community of Solar Impulse.

A 001: Paper, scissors, rock. Damn, I lost again!

A 002: Haha, you have to do the COP21 live broadcast today. And remember to smile!

Agent 001 shoots his colleague a dirty look and turns on his Periscope:

A 002: You forgot the call to action for Future is Clean! I can’t believe you, it’s like the most crucial element of our campaign.

A 001: I really need to get more sleep…

A 002: Forget it. I think what you need is a little change of air. Literally. We’re going to take a ride on the solar plane.

Agents 001 and 002 put their helmets on, board the plane, take off, and activate the CSR (Clean Solution Radar).

A 001: Ah the thrill of the chase! It’s good to be back in the air.

A 002: Yeah, plus we have a great visibility today thanks to the low pollution level. Check out the index.

A 001: Sometimes I wonder if…

A 002: Hey, the radar found something!

*Clean Solution Identified*

Name: Eco-friendly hybrid advanced septic tank (Korea)

Function: Clean wastewater before throwing it back into rivers and oceans

A 001: That’s the last model I presented in the Periscope! It uses various layers of sediments to purify sewer waters. It reminds me of this article I read the other day about how we can use human waste to produce electricity. It could definitely improve hygiene in poorer countries, where a lack of sanitation accounts for 10 percent of illnesses, while at the same time providing them with a cheap source of electricity.

A 002: Well, I definitely never thought wastewater could produce energy.

A 001: Turning waste into a resource is part of what is known as the circular economy. There’s a great book about that called Cradle to Cradle, Remaking the Way We Make Things.

A 002: You can be a real encyclopedia sometimes!

A 001: Well one of us has to be!

Before the two agents can start bickering, the CSR goes off again.

*Clean Solution Identified*

Name: Lighting plan for the city of Lille (North of France)

Function: Improve the efficiency of public lighting and reduce light pollution

  1. Install control devices to tailor the intensity of the lighting according to the time of the day.
  2. Use efficient and recyclable light bulbs.
  3. Install monitoring systems to follow the electric consumption and detect flaws and power failures so as to intervene more quickly.
  4. Use electricity produced by renewable energy sources.

A 002: That’s really similar to the energy strategy our engineers adopted for Solar Impulse.

A 001: Let’s see what kind of results Lille obtained thanks to these measures. A reduction of 41% of their electric consumption in 2014 compared to 2004, and they’re expecting to save 14,5 billion euros between 2005 and 2019. That’s huge!

A 002: And only by using simple measures and technologies that are within everyone’s reach.

A 001: I think it’s time we got back to report on these solutions. Plus, the other agents will start to wonder where we’ve disappeared off too, and I wouldn’t want them to get the wrong idea.

Agent 002 rolls his eyes and looks out the window at the Eiffel Tower.

Successful landing

The agents arrive just in time to see Ségolène Royal, French Minister of Ecology, being given a tour of the Solar Impulse model by pilot Bertrand Piccard.

Agent 002: Avant-première of tomorrow.

Agent 001: What do you mean?

Agent 002: Bertrand is having breakfast with Ségolène tomorrow to talk about sustainable cities. Then he’s attending an event hosted by the Health and Environment Alliance, and after lunch he has to be at the Earth University’s event to give a speech on “Being human is being responsible”. And last but definitely not least, he’ll be present at the opening of the Grand Palais, where hundreds of concrete solutions will be displayed until the end of COP21.  

Agent 001: Well I may be an encyclopedia but you’re a walking calendar!

Agent 002: And I’m not done yet! Tomorrow is also the closing day of the votes on Future is Clean. So tell everyone you meet to go vote before it’s too late. And remind them that the top solutions will be integrated into Bertrand and André’s speeches during the most crucial days of COP21.

Agent 001: Sir yes sir. And now I really need a coffee. The day isn’t over yet…

Image of Lille courtesy of : Kaelkael

This blog post has been originally published here.