24 May 2021 | Reading 6 mins.

Why the energy transition will fail without technology and trees

While the energy industry must move away from fossil fuels towards renewable energy within the next two decades, we need to stop deforestation and start reforestation.

Photo: Brian Garrity, Unsplash

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Philippa Nuttall Jones
Managing Editor, Energy Monitor, New Statesman

Philippa Nuttall Jones, Managing Editor, Energy Monitor, New Statesman

In partnership with ENERGY MONITOR

Research suggests little conflict between stemming biodiversity loss and a massive buildout of renewables, but opinions differ widely over the use of forests, and over-simplistic decisions about the role of wood in the energy transition must be avoided.

The world added a record amount of renewable energy capacity last year, yet nowhere near the levels needed to transition away from fossil fuels in line with the commitments of the Paris Agreement. At the same time, biodiversity is in crisis with wildlife populations crashing — a study published last week shows just 3% of ecosystems remain intact. Building out wind and solar farms, battery gigafactories and related clean energy infrastructure demands land and resources.

Business leaders, policymakers and regulators should use data and science to ensure technology and trees are at the heart of the energy clean transition.

A tree in the ancient Hyrcanian forests in northern Iran, an area incredibly rich in biodiversity. Photo: by Atta Kenare/AFP, Getty Images

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This article was originally published in ENERGY MONITOR.
Energy Monitor was launched by the New Statesman Media Group in September 2020. Their mission is to explain how the world is changing for decision makers in need of data-driven answers.