From Paris to Practice - Sustainable Implementation of Renewable Energy Goals

From Paris to Practice - Sustainable Implementation of Renewable Energy Goals

From Paris to Practice - Sustainable Implementation of Renewable Energy Goals

S Baruch-Mordo, J M Kiesecker, C M Kennedy, J R Oakleaf  and J J Opperman

Abstract:

 

The signing of the Paris climate agreement and sustainable development goals demonstrated an international commitment to halting climate change, increasing energy access, and maintaining biodiversity. Successful implementation requires rapidly expanding renewable energy development, which has a large land footprint and can conflict with maintaining natural lands.

To quantify the potential to mediate this land conflict, we converted emission reduction commitments submitted as part of the Paris agreement into actionable energy targets, and assessed whether they can be met by developing renewables on converted lands and waters of lower biodiversity and carbon value. The world has 19 times the required energy targets on converted lands, and most countries, including the top ten emitters, can meet the Paris agreement goals.

Furthermore, regions (e.g. Africa) that will experience substantial population growth and that currently have limited energy infrastructure can meet their Paris agreement and future energy targets by developing renewable energy on already converted lands. Guiding renewable energy development to converted lands presents opportunities for sustainable development, but also requires incentives and proactive planning to ensure expansion does not exacerbate other environmental challenges.

 S Baruch-Mordo et al, Environ. Res. Lett. 2019, DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/aaf6e0

Source: IOP Science