New Coalition Launches to Protect Nature During the Energy Transition

Posted on 12 November 2021

Glasgow, SCOTLAND (12 November 2021) - A new coalition, announced today, aims to ensure that the impacts on nature are considered during the global energy transition. The Coalition Linking Energy And Nature for action (CLEANaction), aims to drive short-term action and highlight the need for new renewable energy generation projects to be carefully assessed for their impacts on biodiversity, allowing the options that are the least damaging to nature to be prioritized.

While the transition away from fossil fuels is crucial to reduce emissions and limit global warming to 1.5°C, many renewable energy developers currently have little awareness or consideration for the impact on nature, be it on land, the ocean, or freshwater ecosystems. The coalition aims to ensure the effect on biodiversity is a required element of any new proposed energy initiative. 

Founding members of the coalition are the Alliance for Rural Electrification (ARE), Birdlife International, ICLEI-Cities Biodiversity Center, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and WWF. The coalition seeks to bring together varied organizations to initiate immediate action that will ensure greater integration of nature into energy planning and implementation.

Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, WWF Global Lead Climate and Energy, said: “Our climate and nature crises are inextricably linked. Climate change is a key driver of biodiversity loss, while action to halt and reverse the loss of nature is essential to limiting global warming to 1.5°C and avoiding even worse impacts on people and wildlife. Initiatives such as CLEANaction are key to ensure that the much-needed shift away from fossil fuels does not cause further, inadvertent harm to natural ecosystems, freshwater systems and our oceans.”

David Lecoque, Alliance for Rural Electrification CEO, said: “Distributed renewable electricity is imperative to achieve all the Sustainable Development Goals: it provides communities with sustainability electricity services to power livelihoods, doing so in a way that catalyses socio-economic development and local green job creation, that is future-proof and that is effectively addressing climate change. Renewable electricity is by definition a natural solution, harnessing the power of the wind, the sun, water and the earth to deliver electricity. It beautifully leverages the forces of nature to power sustainable development around the world.”

BirdLife CEO, Patricia Zurita, said: “Whilst a rapid shift to renewable energy is vital, it must not be achieved at the expense of nature. BirdLife is a world expert on reconciling nature conservation and energy development. Through the CLEANaction initiative, we look forward to working closely with the energy sector to promote the knowledge, tools, and best practices needed to ensure a “truly green” nature-sensitive energy revolution.”

Kobie Brand, ICLEI Deputy Secretary General, and ICLEI Africa Regional Director, said: “A just energy transition quintessentially has to be one that is also nature positive, addressing the needs of people and planet. Many cities from all over the world are already leading the way in such transitions, by utilizing nature-based solutions to achieve climate neutrality.”

Francesco La Camera, IRENA Director-General, said: “Nature is our most abundant source of energy. To meet the goals of the Paris Agreement by 2050, around two thirds of our energy will come from technologies that harness the renewable power of the sun, the wind, the earth, and the water. The pursuit of a net-zero global economy is fundamentally the quest for a future that harmonizes the needs of people and planet.” 

Dr. Joseph Kiesecker, The Nature Conservancy Lead Scientist, said: “Life on earth will be shaped by how we repower and re-green the planet over the next two decades. With 80% of global energy consumption based on fossil fuels, repowering the planet by rapidly developing clean energy systems is obviously essential to meeting climate goals. But as we transition to renewable energy, we must advance smarter approaches for development and the environment, so that meeting climate goals does not come at the expense of human development or healthy lands and waters.”

Notes for Editors:
  • CLEANaction will be launched at an event at the WWF pavilion in the blue zone at COP26 at 12:00 GMT. A livestream is also available
  • The coalition will advocate for action through various activities, including:
    • Give guidance to policymakers that builds understanding and capacity, and ensures that future energy developments take full account of the long-term impact on nature.
    • Engaging with the private sector and financial investors involved in renewable energy projects.
    • Publish a flagship report raising awareness between the links between energy and nature.
    • Driving the energy-nature agenda through shared knowledge with the respective partner organizations and their initiatives.
  • For more information, and for interview requests, contact: news@wwfint.org
CLEANaction
© WWF

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