17 May 2019, 12:48
Julian Wettengel

Nature conservation and the energy transition are compatible – study

It is possible to reduce Germany’s energy-related greenhouse gas emissions by up to 100 percent by 2050 while at the same time maintaining a high level of nature conservation, according to a study conducted by the Wuppertal Institute and commissioned by NGO Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU). “Therefore, an energy transition that reduces emissions from the energy sector by about 100 percent by mid-century through the expansion of renewables is the central strategy to protect the natural environment,” write the researchers. The study compares several long-term scenarios and finds that there are several climate action strategies that would further protect nature, but which have not yet been debated enough by researchers and politicians, such as the support of natural CO2 sinks and more sustainable lifestyles. In a press release, NABU welcomed German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s announcement that her climate cabinet would discuss how the country can reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

While the decarbonisation of the economy benefits the natural environment in general – for example through climate protection and air pollution reduction – parts of Germany’s energy transition are often criticised for having a negative impact on flora and fauna. One example is renewables expansion, as a substantial amount of land is needed for wind turbines or solar PV parks.

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