How can we be motivated to switch from SUVs to smaller cars?
The scientists have no new proposals, but leave this difficult task to politicians. What they say: Before we start capturing CO2 from the air and pumping it underground for very expensive money – and that will also be necessary at some point – we should definitely first save where it is easiest: lighter cars, better insulated houses, fly less.
The report says politics and business should rely on getting synthetic fuels from abroad – how realistic is that?
That is hard to say. Producing eco-fuels from green electricity is inefficient and expensive. It’s really only worth it if there’s no other way and the necessary price is paid for it – and that in sunny southern countries, which in most cases have not been reliable political partners up to now. Nevertheless, it seems right to me to start doing this now, because the necessary infrastructure for these synthetic fuels for airplanes and ships cannot be created out of the ground in the short term.
On a contentious point: nuclear energy is not mentioned as an option?
Yes, the authors do not rule out nuclear energy. They say that one should keep an eye on the further development of this technology. However, by 2050 it is unlikely that nuclear energy will make any significant new contributions – simply because the often promised, safer systems are still not available and investors are therefore very cautious.
In summary, how important is the report?
I think it’s important because it comes from long-standing Swiss energy experts who are relatively independent and outspoken. They relentlessly remind us how completely irrational we behave when it comes to cars, for example.
But they show us just as relentlessly how difficult the whole undertaking is. In the end, we cannot avoid separating Co2 from the air and pumping it underground. And that doesn’t even include the imported gray energy, which is very high for Switzerland. It really is a huge challenge – but if we want to slow down global warming, we have to accept it willy-nilly.