Seventh Day at COP21

Sunday 6th December 2015

A whole week of #COP21 has already flown by, and Agents 001 and 002 have been so occupied that they’ve had absolutely no time to open the two pilots’ mail. M sent them a wake up call this afternoon to ask them to catch up. And you don’t argue with M…

A 001: I’ll take care of Bertrand Piccard’s mail, and you deal with André Borschberg’s.

A 002: Ok, let’s start by today’s mail. Gosh, I’ve got hundreds of messages.

A 001: Same here. Hey, check this one out.

Great to see two pioneers of solar energy together, keep up the good work! Jim McConaughey

A 002: André received exactly the same message, but with the picture of him and Akon.

I remember listening to Akon’s Lonely over and over again when it came out. Never thought we’d end up meeting him at COP21 though.

A 001: Yeah he launched the initiative Akon Lighting Africa last year, to develop an innovative solar-powered solution that will provide African villages with access to a clean and affordable source of electricity. I feel like solar power is really becoming increasingly popular everywhere in the world.

A 002: Oh, André got a mail from Claude Nicollier!

A 001: Wait, he’s the first Swiss astronaut to ever have gone into space right?

A 002: Exactly, he works for the European Space Agency (ESA), and knows André from back when they were both pilots in the Swiss air force. That’s how he became the lead of Flight Test Operations and member of the Safety Review Board at Solar Impulse.

A 001: What does he say then?

A 002:

Dear André,

Thank you for sharing the International Space Station’s message to COP21 yesterday. Seeing my friend Wubbo Ockels talking to the camera the day before he left this world deeply moved me.

Planet Earth seen from space is amazingly beautiful, but also really small, and fragile! The main goal we should clearly have in mind at this time is the preservation, at any cost, of our planet’s ability to sustain life on the long term. And life on Earth in the future should not become survival!   We need to be sure that a decent quality of life will be maintained for all its inhabitants!

Wishing you a good evening,


And there’s an attached picture:



A 001: What a heart-felt reaction. Flag it so we can have André answer back.

Agents 001 and 002 sort out their respective mail in silence for a couple of minutes, reflecting upon Claude’s words and imagining what it must be like to wake up to an earthrise every day.

A 001: Bertrand got a mail from a woman asking what ties Solar Impulse has with Masdar. Apparently they tweeted on something Bertrand said today:

and it got her wondering. Can you refresh my memory?

A 002: Sure. Masdar is an entity owned by the United Arab Emirates government, with a mission to advance the clean energy industry in Abu Dhabi and around the world. They built Shams 1, the first solar power plant in the Middle East and one the largest in the world. The relationship between Masdar and Solar Impulse started in 2003 and they’re now our host partner in Abu Dhabi.

A 001: Ok thanks.

A 002: Oh, and send her the video that explains why we chose to start the Round-the-World Tour in Abu Dhabi. That way she hopefully won’t be coming back with more questions.

Agent 001 inserts the video in the mail and sends it.

A 002: Do you know in what context Bertrand was talking about Masdar?

A 001: This international conference today at COP21 called Re-energising the Future which showcased the renewable energy solutions and visions of many companies and governments. I was surprised to learn that renewables currently provide 22.8% of the world’s electricity. I thought it was way less!

A 002: Yeah, I’d been astonished on learning that too. And the percentage is bound to soar considering that renewable energy prices are dropping fast.

A 001: And not only are they becoming more accessible in terms of investment, but firms are also trying to make them more practically accessible to all. I was in the public during the round table between several representants of big firms, and John Woolard from Google presented the Sunroof Project. Its goal is to map the solar potential of all the roofs in the world, to show each household how much they can save by investing in solar panels. It’s only available in several areas in the United States for the moment, but they’ll get there.

A 002: I can’t wait for them to get to Europe!

A 001: Haha, they will, don’t worry.

Agent 001 turns back to his screen and discovers that ten new e-mails have arrived while they were setting the world to rights.

A 001: All this chatting is getting me behind! What’s this one?

Dear Bertrand Piccard,

Thanks for mentioning Morocco on Twitter today. I was present when you landed there three years ago, and will never forget that day. Hoping to see Solar Impulse in Morocco again soon!

All the best,

Hamza Abergel

A 002: Ahh, those were good times. I remember how proud we all were when we achieved the world’s first fully solar-powered intercontinental flight, from Switzerland to Morocco and back.

A 001: And how overwhelmed Bertrand and André were when King Mohammed VI made them Officers of the Order of the Alawites for their courage and efforts to promote the Moroccan solar program. It’s crazy how fast it’s all gone…

As Agent 001 gets lost in his memories, Agent 002 leans over to see the next message in Bertrand’s inbox.

A 002: Look, here’s another cool message:

I was watching your speech today at the launch of the Global Solar Council and I wish we had more pioneers like you to show people the importance of clean technologies and energy efficiency. Thank you for helping the world move forward! Angela Cornell


A 002: The Global Solar Council… let me see what that is exactly… “The body will bring together 25 national and regional solar associations from around the world with the aim of inspiring greater collaboration in a sometimes fragmented industry.” Wow, and they’re actually joining our Future is Clean initiative to promote clean technologies, that’s awesome!

A 001: Speaking of which, I checked the number of people who had signed up to support Future is Clean yesterday, and it was over 45,000! We should do something special for our supporters when we reach 50,000 don’t you think?

A 002: Definitely. We’ll have to brainstorm about that when we get back to EPFL.

A 001: And for now, I say we’ve deserved a break.

A 002: Hear hear!

This post has been originally published here.