The Fifth Science Policy Forum for Biodiversity and The Eighth International Conference on Sustainability Science

19 Apr 2021

Session 3 : Breakout Group 2 : The current landscape of renewable energy technologies and applications, and its impact on conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity

Main points discussed in the session:

  • Renewable energy can create context-specific trade-offs, considering that renewable energy installations, ancillary infrastructure, and upstream/ downstream activities could affect biodiversity through multiple mechanisms. It is important to delineate and conceptualize the trade-offs between biodiversity and renewable energy in a comprehensive manner.
  • We need large-scale modeling exercises and comprehensive environmental impact assessments that explore the effects of different renewable energy scenarios/pathways on biodiversity in a spatially- and temporally-explicit manner.
  • We need to reduce/eliminate misalignment between policies on renewable energy expansion and biodiversity conservation.
  • Digital technologies can facilitate several mechanisms such as information-sharing, transparency, interconnectivity, value maximization, and automation to alleviate challenges in the woody biomass supply chain as a nature-based solution.
  • lMeeting biodiversity and energy transition targets requires combined attention to: (a) energy infrastructure transitions; (b) changing land use; and (c) situated social identities.

Event Reports and Videos:

Session 1: Opening Session

Session 1: Part 2: Breakout Group1

Session 1: Part 2: Breakout Group2

Session 2: 

Session 3: Breakout Group 1

Session 3: Breakout Group 2

Session 4:

Session 5:

Event Website

Video : Session 3 : Breakout Group 2

Short Report

Dr Osamu Saito, the Chair of the breakout group, outlined the ensuing discussion based on three key points— how to reduce the negative impact of renewable energy technologies on biodiversity and society, the potential of the technologies to drive biodiversity conservation and ecological restoration, and lastly how these ideas can be implemented tangibly to achieve GBF and multiple Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Renewable energy technologies often impact biodiversity negatively and thus pose a major challenge to achieving GBF goals according to Dr Alexandros Gasparatos from the University of Tokyo. In support, he presented multiple examples and pointed out that at the heart of this problem lies the “Green versus Green dilemma”. This dilemma identifies the need to balance the trade-off between the advantage and disadvantage of renewable energy technologies in the context of GBF. In the context of specific green technologies, Dr Amanda Ahl (Tokyo Institute of Technology) opined that digital innovations present considerable promise to facilitate the transition from traditional to renewable energy.

Focusing on the transition, along with environmental governance, Dr Siddharth Sareen of the University of Stavanger, Norway highlighted that the change in energy infrastructure currently is in a state of flux and requires better understanding. He underscored the role that social sciences need to play in identifying and addressing the negative social aspects of the transition. The breakout discussion came to an end with final remarks from Dr Kazuhiko Takeuchi, who is the president of the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), Japan and a professor at the University of Tokyo. He identified gaps in implementations between developed and developmental nations, as well as between rural and urban settings. He also recommended that the developed countries should help the developing countries in reducing the gaps.

Event short report by By Shivani Krishna and Debapriyo Chakraborty.

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