Feel­ing the heat

No­to­ri­ous for their hy­dro­car­bon con­sump­tion, Gulf coun­tries are be­gin­ning to fight back against cli­mate change

Executive Magazine - - Economics & Policy -

The sight was elec­tri­fy­ing: a so­lar pow­ered fly­ing ma­chine as­cended into the desert morn­ing in or­der to probe a new fron­tier for ecol­ogy and sus­tain­abil­ity. Ven­tur­ing far be­yond the con­ven­tional con­cept of an air­plane, So­lar Im­pulse II is a science adventure to test and de­velop new prac­ti­cal tech­nolo­gies that can deal with the ur­gent, global prob­lem of cli­mate change.

Hatched by two Swiss celebrity ex­plor­ers, An­dre Borschberg and Ber­trand Pic­card, the ex­per­i­men­tal air­craft in­tends to cir­cum­nav­i­gate the earth in a five month-long flight that is di­vided into 12 seg­ments. To op­ti­mize its chances of suc­cess, So­lar Im­pulse II took off last month from Abu Dhabi.

The ul­ti­mate prob­lem the flight seeks to ad­dress — cli­mate change — is de­fined as the mod­i­fi­ca­tion of cli­mate pat­terns, both re­gion­ally and glob­ally, and has been at­trib­uted to the in­creased level of car­bon diox­ide in the at­mos­phere due to fos­sil fuel con­sump­tion. The gen­eral con­sen­sus is that a con­tin­u­ous buildup of emis­sions will have dire ef­fects on the planet, such as seas sub­merg­ing cities and ex­treme weather pat­terns.

The en­vi­ron­ment has al­ways been a highly im­por­tant topic in the world’s agenda but the cur­rent en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion cam­paigns seen around the globe are un­prece­dented, as Hol­ly­wood ac­tors, top politi­cians and or­di­nary peo­ple have made cli­mate change their per­sonal cru­sades. Leonardo DiCaprio, ac­tor and UN rep­re­sen­ta­tive on cli­mate change, stated at the 2014 UN Cli­mate Change Sum­mit in New York that “cli­mate

The first so­lar pow­ered flight around the world took off from Abu Dhabi

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