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Everyone wants a better climate, but “net zero” is not easily attainable for everyone. Recently, the Dutch government increased the energy tax for natural gas and reduced that for electricity. By doing so, the government wants to encourage households to opt more often for electric heat options, such as heat pumps, or electric cooking. Nice idea, but, says Marlies Hesselman, lecturer in International Law, we must be careful that everyone can continue to participate. Because when it comes to energy, it’s not about the choices people want to make, but about the choices people can make, Hesselman says. My colleague Elcke Vels made a clarifying story about it that also touched her personally, as she wrote in a newsletter earlier this week:

“Now that groceries have become more expensive, I sometimes leave out the luxury or organic products just a bit more often. Earlier, organic eggs were always my default choice. Now I choose the eggs in the plastic packaging at the bottom of the shelf. My point is that making the more sustainable choice is not always convenient. The same goes for making homes more sustainable, for example. Think of low-income people for whom showering and buying eggs has become unaffordable. Let alone that they would have spare money to put solar panels on the roof or insulate the house. Clearly, sustainability is not for everyone at all times. Surviving is stronger than sustainable living. I’m all for encouraging people to make sustainable choices. But if it doesn’t work out, let’s not beat around the bush immediately.”

Albert Jan sympathizes with her; he chose Elke’s article as this week’s topic. For us at Innovation Origins, it is an extra incentive to include feasibility as a consideration in addition to innovation in general.

What else caught our eye

Time for last week’s highlights. Again, there were a lot of them. What caught our eye?

Google rolls out AI assistant Bard in 180 countries, but why not in Europe?

The energy system of the future will be digital, decentralized and self-healing, if it is up to these universities

Unlocking the secrets of Pompeii with advanced technology

Efficient and reliable – Student team hunting for world record with sustainable car

Get ChatGPT to write your resume and you’ll get hired faster (pssst… you’ll earn more too)

Chip expert Bram Nauta: “Being more creative than the competition, with the same resources. We are very good at that in the Netherlands.”

ABLE’s exoskeleton makes motion recovery easier

A Sino-Dutch breakthrough that makes solar panels better than ever

AI Chatbots outperform doctors in online patient responses

And here’s the rest 

Make it a great, innovative week!