Energy and Climate Change

Climate change and energy transition

Climate change is the greatest long-term threat to our environment and our society. Warming is set to become the major driver of species loss: it thus obliges us to reconsider our societal models and to find ways to live more sustainably. To tackle it we must curb our hunger for energy, use energy much more efficiently and renewable energy must replace dirty fossil fuels and risky nuclear power.

BirdLife Europe is working on a Climate Change programme urging swift and decisive mitigation action. Our demand, maintaining global average temperature increase to less than 2°C, is based on scientists’ recommendations regarding what is a ‘safe’ amount of warming. Even this limit now looks too high, in the light of new evidence. We support a transition to sustainable, renewable energy in Europe and we recognise that this will require widespread energy production installations and thousands of kilometres of new power lines. If well-planned, with robust environmental assessment and mitigation measures, Europe can develop this new capacity at the necessary scale and pace without harming the natural environment.

We also advocate for a more climate friendly EU budget and better rules on emissions related to the agriculture, forestry and bioenergy industries. We also run campaigns against dirty fossil fuels and we engage with energy businesses to find sustainable and pragmatic solutions, especially through the deployment of renewable energy. However, if badly managed and located, renewable energy facilities, energy infrastructures and biomass fuel supplies pose unacceptable risks to birds and wildlife. European and national policy makers must ensure that the renewable energy revolution proceeds in harmony with nature.

Conserving a rich biodiversity and mitigating the effects of climate change are closely linked. Efforts to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions must be stepped up, but not at the expense of short-term loss of habitats or creation of unintended indirect emissions. The destruction of carbon rich habitats, such as forests and wetlands, is a major source of emissions, while healthy ecosystems are better equipped to adapt to climate change and in many cases also better at storing carbon.

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Stichting BirdLife Europe gratefully acknowledges financial support from the European Commission. All content and opinions expressed on these pages are solely those of Stichting BirdLife Europe.

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