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SWITCH – Discover the Future of Energy coming to the UN Cinema on 27 April

Energy impacts every aspect of our lives and underpins the Sustainable Development Goals – yet energy remains a vast and complex subject. An acclaimed online project embraced by both environmental groups and the energy industry, the SWITCH Energy Project, provides a balanced and pragmatic solution to the energy future. SWITCH will be featured during the UNECE Resource Classification Week 2016 (26–29 April). 

In 2009, documentary filmmaker Harry Lynch and geologist Dr. Scott Tinker set out to make a film on the global energy transition. The goal was not to advocate one technology over another, nor to suggest how the transition should happen — but to try to determine how it actually would happen, based on scientifically-sound investigation and the practical realities of the world of energy as they discovered them. The result is SWITCH. During the three years of filming and post-production, the film expanded into the SWITCH Energy Project, an online multi-platform programme.

Dr. Tinker will deliver the keynote presentation “SWITCH - The Global Energy Transition” in the opening session of the Expert Group on Resource Classification on 27 April. This will be followed by the screening of SWITCH in the UN Cinema at the Palais des Nations at 18.00 hours on 27 April – the film will be introduced by Dr. Tinker.

The Expert Group on Resource Classification focusses on all extractive activities (solid minerals, oil, gas and nuclear fuels) and renewable energy. Moving towards a truly sustainable energy future means using the right energy resource where it makes sense and the Expert Group works to ensure this is the case.

The making of the film involved visits to 20 of the world’s leading energy sites in 11 countries, and over 50 conversations with top industry, academic and government leaders. Lynch and Tinker explored the complex world of energy and developed an objective forward view of energy supply, demand, efficiency, infrastructure and scale. They made several discoveries, some anticipated and others less expected, in their attempt to unravel the global energy scene. Among the things they learnt:

  • Energy, the economy and the environment are intimately linked.
  • Fuels used for 20th Century transportation ­– oil and coal ­– and electricity are available, affordable and reliable, and thus difficult to replace.
  • Renewable sources of energy can supply regional demands, but require major advances in energy storage to replace oil and coal.
  • Natural gas and nuclear are becoming the foundational global energies of the 21st Century.
  • The enormous scale of global energy demand is difficult to comprehend but made very apparent in the film.
  • The pace of energy supply transitions is controlled by infrastructure, economics, materials, thermodynamics, kinetics and policy, and thus “the SWITCH” does not happen quickly.
  • Energy choices are based on security--affordable, available, reliable and environmentally sustainable.
  • Energy security should be the goal of energy policy.
  • Energy efficiency is underappreciated; individual behaviour matters.

SWITCH has been seen by nearly 10 million viewers worldwide, in cinemas, university auditoriums, classrooms, on DVD and the web. To learn more about the SWITCH Energy Project visit: www.switchenergyproject.com 

For more information on the SWITCH screening on 27 April, contact Charlotte Griffiths at: reserves.energy@unece.org