Responsible energy

14 September 2012 | Article

The intersection of energy production and nature conservation has been a prominent subject at the 2012 IUCN Congress. Evidence of that was seen in the motions process, where recommendations on climate change, the impact of energy generation on the environment, and responsible renewable energy sources were all presented for adoption.

A total of four motions with energy-related themes were proposed, each in some way considering the implications that the Earth’s rising demand for energy will have on bio- and geodiversity.

While some of the motions focus on specific local issues, it is the role of the motion’s Contact Group to determine if, and how, recommendations could be relevant for a broader subset.

The theme across all four energy-related motions revolved around the impact that energy and renewable energy generation will have on people, species and the environment.

One of the motions on responsible renewable energy sources originally raised concerns over the development of the offshore wind energy industry and the potential risk it poses to biodiversity. During the ‘Contact Group’ discussions, the motion was expanded to recommend analyses and assessment of all renewable energy technologies, not only offshore wind.

“The Contact Group is a critical step in affecting positive change,” says Gerard Bos, head of IUCN’s Global Business and Biodiversity Programme. “It’s a chance for the sponsors and co-sponsors, the technical reviewer, the Members and relevant parties to discuss a motion, potentially determining how it could translate more broadly. That’s why it’s so important to have participation in Contact Groups, especially from the Members and governments.”