Climate change – What can we do?

For months now we have been hearing and reading about Climate Change and how it is affecting the world we live in. The seriousness of the affects of Climate Change became very apparent when the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report  was issued.  The UN’s panel of science experts  told us that they are more certain than ever before that humans are causing the climate to change, and that climate change will impact on everything from ecosystems and species to hunger, poverty, development, and global conflict.

Credit: The Raw Story

Credit: The Raw Story

Carbon emissions have soared in the last decade and are now growing at almost double the previous rate. If we want to stabilise emissions and address climate change we need strong action now. We need to address our reliance on imported fossil fuels along with measures that cut energy waste. Renewable energy alternatives such as wind, hydropower and solar were viewed most favourably by the report. Over the years these renewable energy technologies have reduced in price which have made them more affordable.  We need policy makers to start taking action but we also need to start making simple changes.

“The report is clear: the more you wait, the more it will cost [and] the more difficult it will become,” said EU commissioner Connie Hedegaard. 

The infographic below summarises the findings of the IPCC report and suggests how we can play our part in reducing carbon emissions and reducing the affects of Climate Change. Catastrophic climate change can be averted without sacrificing our living standards. Now, it’s time to embrace the climate solutions!

Credit: Climasphere and the United Nations Foundation

Credit: Climasphere and the United Nations Foundation

Global warming and climate change is a real issue and we must start changing our mindset and behaviour and become more aware of the environment we live in and how we can make a difference. What change will you make today?

Renewables in harmony with nature

BirdLife Europe is calling for “ambitious” and “binding” EU renewable energy targets for 2030. In its new report, ‘Meeting Europe’s Renewable Energy Targets in Harmony with Nature’, the conservation body says that renewable energy targets can be met without harming nature.

Renewable energy technologies do not harm bird populations, provided the most sensitive locations are avoided and established best practices in design and operation are maintained.

Meeting Europe’s Renewable Energy Targets in Harmony with Nature

Ariel Brunner, Head of EU Policy in BirdLife Europe says: “Climate change is a grave threat to both wildlife and people…….wind, wave and ocean power are essential and effective ways to cut carbon emissions, and do not need to put birds, bats or other wildlife in danger. Our report is essential reading for policy-makers across Europe as renewable energy moves to centre stage in the fight against dangerous climate change.”

Climate change poses an enormous threat to biodiversity all over the world and we need to develop renewable energy solutions quickly in order to cut carbon emissions and keep warming within safe limits. The report notes that “renewable energy must become the backbone of Europe’s energy supply”, but it also says that it must be developed sensitively. “The challenge we face is to protect nature whilst deploying renewables at the scale and pace required.” However, we need to develop the right solutions in the right locations to avoid negatively impacting on biodiversity.

With the effects of climate change already being felt and carbon emissions actually increasing last year, the need for new sustainable energy has never been greater. But we need to be careful that this renewables revolution doesn’t damage the very ecosystems it seeks to protect. With the launch of its new report, ‘Meeting Europe’s Renewable Energy Targets in Harmony with Nature’, in Brussels on 22 November, BirdLife Europe shows how we can meet our 2020 renewable energy targets without impacting on wildlife.

Meeting Europe’s Renewable Energy Targets in Harmony with Nature

BirdLife Europe supports achieving and going beyond Europe’s 2020 renewables target, in line with four key principles.

  • Renewable energy supply must make a significant difference in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Positive planning frameworks are needed so that the most appropriate energy sources are exploited in the most appropriate places.
  • Harm to birds and biodiversity must be avoided when locating and designing renewable energy facilities. Established survey, design and operation practices reduce or eliminate such risks.
  • Europe’s most important sites for wildlife must be protected. Where significant impacts on a Natura 2000 site (those protected under the Birds and Habitats Directives) are likely, development may only proceed under strict conditions, which must be robustly applied.

Harnessing the clean, renewable energy provided by the sun, wind, waves and tides is the only sustainable energy future for Europe. The renewables revolution can and must work in harmony with, and not against, nature.

BirdLife Europe/International is a global Partnership of conservation organisations that strives to conserve birds, their habitats and global biodiversity, working with people towards sustainability in the use of natural resources. Seventeen organisations participated in the making of the report, including BirdWatch Ireland and the UK’s RSPB.

Read the full report here: Meeting Europe’s Renewable Energy Targets in Harmony with Nature

Read summary report here: Meeting Europe’s Renewable Energy Targets in Harmony with Nature