Global carbon dioxide emissions could realistically be halved by 2040.
That’s the verdict from Jean-Pascal Tricoire, Chairman and CEO of Schneider Electric. speaking at the company’s Innovation Summit in Barcelona today – he said this would require digitally-enabled energy saving measures to be implemented in half of all existing buildings, alongside a range of global electrification and decarbonisation schemes.
He said the world is currently “seriously on the wrong trajectory”, noting that energy consumption in 2100 is expected to be forty times higher than in 1900 – he stressed as energy-related emissions make up more than 80% of global greenhouse gases, this is an “unbearable trend”.
The global boss warned humankind has only around 20 years to change its trajectory before feedback loops driven by the ice caps melting are reached and suggested “other generations will hold us accountable if we don’t do anything” to turn away from what he branded an “inefficient system”.
In his speech, Mr Tricoire claimed energy efficiency and process efficiency “are impossible to dissociate” and are “two faces of the same coin” – he highlighted both are needed in equal measure to unlock the total efficiency required for a sustainable future.
He forecast Internet of Things, big data and AI technologies to see massive growth, with worldwide spending on AI alone expected to increase six-fold between 2017 and 2022 and the amount of data generated globally predicted to increase five-fold by 2025.
The audience heard that the buildings of the future will be all-electric and all-digital, with many boasting decentralised clean power sources.
Mr Tricoire told the crowd: “We are experiencing a tectonic shift today towards electrification and digitisation, enabling a new paradigm in sustainability. For the first time in our history, we can all participate in a step change in efficiency and the rare opportunity to reconcile the paradox between progress for all and a sustainable future for our planet.
“We stand ready to work with our customers and partners to unlock new opportunities for efficiency and sustainability.”