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.
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.
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.