The deployment of renewable energy and the restoration of nature must be done in unison for a climate neutral and nature-positive Europe.
In the lead up to the publication of the RepowerEU Communication by the European Commission, in a joint NGO statement, civil society organisations are calling for a holistic approach to the accelerated energy transition, where climate, energy and biodiversity policies reinforce each other. Climate change and biodiversity are inextricably linked and should not be addressed in isolation. A solution for one needs to be a solution for the other.
While there is now a renewed urgency for EU member states to push for the deployment of renewable energy, it must be done with the full involvement of citizens and communities and ensuring nature protection. If this considered approach is taken by EU member states, it can result in a higher level of public acceptance which can in turn lead to the faster permitting and deployment of renewable energy throughout Europe.
Ariel Brunner, Head of Policy at BirdLife Europe, said, “Europe needs to speed up wind and solar licensing, but the way to achieve this is through sound planning, not environmental deregulation. We cannot pit ecosystems and the atmosphere against each other as they are deeply interlinked and both crucial for our survival. Ecologically sound projects that bring local communities along are the fastest route to climate action and to cutting Europe’s dependence on totalitarian regimes”.
Chiara Martinelli, Director for CAN Europe, said, “This is the moment to accelerate the transition to a fully renewable energy system, while ensuring maximum synergies with biodiversity protection. Communities, nature protection and climate change are not independent of each other and for any solution to be meaningful, it needs to meet the goals for all three. We need rules and measures for faster permitting of solar and wind projects while simultaneously guaranteeing the protection of nature. Spatial planning and mapping for the most suitable area for wind and solar projects are instrumental along with making sure there is dialogue and cooperation with local communities and NGOs throughout the whole process”.