Our world is in the midst of a climate crisis and the need to urgently shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy is clear. While cleaner power is crucial to reduce emissions and protect people and nature from the worst impacts of climate change, the likely impact of this energy production on biodiversity must also be considered.
Any power generation, even using renewables, brings disruption to the natural environment on which we all depend. Biodiversity has already declined 68% since 1970 and some US$44 trillion - half the world’s GDP - is reliant on nature, which makes it more important than ever to protect and restore it.
CLEANaction aims to 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 prioritised.
Today, many renewable energy developers have little awareness or consideration for the impact on nature, be it on land, the ocean, or freshwater ecosystems. CLEANaction hopes to change this, so that the effect on biodiversity is a required element of any new proposed energy initiative.
“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.” - Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, Global Leader for Climate and Energy, WWF.
“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.” - David Lecoque, CEO, Alliance for Rural Electrification.
“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.” - BirdLife CEO, Patricia Zurita.
“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 utilising nature-based solutions to achieve climate neutrality.” - Kobie Brand, Deputy Secretary General, ICLEI and Regional Director, ICLEI Africa.
“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.” - Francesco La Camera, Director-General of IRENA.
“Life on earth will be shaped by how we repower and re-green the planet over the next two decades. With 80 percent 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.” - Dr. Joseph Kiesecker, Lead Scientist, The Nature Conservancy.