Columnists: Hans Nilsson, Fourfact

Published on: 21 Jan 2020

Hello 2020 and welcome

Dear 2020, you will have quite a task ahead of you because we are faced with a legacy that is far from inspiring. The challenges we have are getting worse by the day.

I am one of the boring guys that deliver facts and evidence that in themselves are positive but people are not very interested in listening to. We have powerful friends to help us, such as scientists and organisations like the IEA and the UN, but still our message, that the world economy could do more with less (produce more welfare and still use less energy), does not resonate.


Yes, we partly have ourselves to blame, we are not good in providing a narrative that have enough of bells and whistles and is delivered to the music of tambourines and horns. We must be better and ask for your help!

But what really makes your task an uphill struggle is that the wider audience throughout Europe but also globally prefers to listen to lies. Even worse – the audience is getting bigger since they use the “social media”. Unfortunately, this has brought about an army of trolls that delivers fake messages and they are not interested in our products, facts and evidence. On the contrary the trolls prefer to distort our message.

You don’t believe us? Well to give you an example: One of the high-ranking trolls claim that wind power is a cause for cancer! This type of lie is not new to us. Several years ago the same sort of fake information tried to tell people that you should not switch off fluorescent lamps since lighting them afterwards would require more energy than you saved from the off-switch (an ill-willed or plain stupid interpretation of the message that very frequent turn on and off could shorten the life lamps ). A few years later when CFLs entered the market there was a rumour that manufacturing of such lamps would require more energy than they saved. And this was again repeated when LEDs came to market (by the way, this was clearly wrong even with early models of LED.

So, resistance to new technology is not new but those who are against have more powerful ways to reach out today. Fewer people today are taking their information from established media dedicated to checking fact and sources, and they instead prefer a gossip-type of message from truly fake sources. It defies logic but it is true.

We in the energy efficiency community will be happy to help you in 2020 and consider how our narrative can be improved and more convincing. One simple thing could be to renew our old slogan – Energy efficiency is DOING MORE WITH LESS – and provide cases for all sectors of the society. After all, dear 2020, you and we are on the same side. While there are some bumps along the way, we are on the road to the future.


The views expressed in this column are those of the columnist and do not necessarily reflect the views of eceee or any of its members.

Other columns by Hans Nilsson