Swiss solar expert backs ideas to save planet

The Latest on the U.N climate talks in Poland. A Swiss adventurer who flew around the world in a solar-powered plane is using this year’s U.N. climate talks to showcase high-tech ideas for saving the planet.

Bertrand Piccard presented three startups Thursday at the climate summit in Katowice, Poland, including a firm that makes refillable iron batteries so off-grid communities don’t need to use generators powered by fossil fuels.

Piccard told The Associated Press that, after demonstrating it’s possible to fly around the world with electricity generated from sunlight, “I’m fed up of hearing always about problems that depress everybody. I want to bring solutions.”

His Solar Impulse Foundation is selecting 1,000 business ideas that are both profitable and good for the environment.

As for clean flying, Piccard predicts that battery-powered passenger planes will be technically and commercially viable by 2026.

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Splits are deepening at the U.N. climate talks between rich and poor countries, oil exporters and vulnerable island nations, and those governments prepared for radical action on climate change versus those who want to wait and see.

As the meeting in Katowice, Poland, reached its fifth day, negotiators were divided over whether to expect a strong final agreement next week.

Amjad Abdulla, chief negotiating chair for the Alliance of Small Island States, said it was “depressing” that some rich countries are seeking similar leeway as developing nations when it comes to reporting emissions and efforts to curb them.

Diplomats and observers say a key fight in the coming days will be over whether to mention ‘policy pathways’ proposed by scientists to keeping global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit).

Source: AP