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Even Climate Solutions can have Environmental Consequences

As you know there are innumerable instances of human actions causing disastrous consequences on our Planet and biodiversity.

From Orangutans in Southeast Asia to Black rhinos in Africa, countless species are critically endangered or threatened because of our selfish desire to make gains. It is not just on the land; life found in our oceans is also not spared due to activities associated with oil and gas and overfishing. 

The main reason for this biodiversity loss can be attributed to logging, human settlement, agriculture, poaching, and climate change – all these activities can be clubbed as environmentally damaging. 

As the demand for climate action has risen and clean technologies like electric vehicles, wind energy, and solar energy have emerged to take us out of environmental harm, unfortunately, there are challenges. 

There is no denying that climate solutions like renewable energy and sustainable mobility have considerably helped in our transition from a fossil-fuel-based economy, but they are also a little detrimental to our biodiversity. 

Environmental Consequences of Climate Solutions

Take the case of batteries, which are an essential part of electric vehicles and energy storage for even renewable. One of the key ingredients for making the batteries is lithium, whose mining has raised serious environmental concerns over their high water usage and land degradation. 

Lithium mining is also impacting flamingo populations in Chile, one of the countries where large reserves of lithium are mined. The Andes region in Chile is known for flamingo feeding and breeding. These species are dependent on adequate water levels to initiate mating season behaviors. However, massive quantities of fresh water are diverted for lithium mining operations, impacting the habitats of flamingos.

Renewable Energy Wind

Another climate solution that is causing biodiversity loss is the wind towers that are installed for generating energy. These wind turbine towers have rotor blades at their top and their height can measure between 60 and 120 meters.

These high fast-moving turbine blades have proved lethal for several species of birds and mammals. In Germany, it has been noticed that wind turbines have impacted Common noctules, which is an endangered bat species. The wind turbines are located in the forest which is also a habitat to bat species. These bats while venturing for their food collide with the rotor blades of the wind turbine. 

Similar issues on birds are also documented in Spain, where researchers examined the flight path of birds around wind turbines using a GPS tracking system. 

It is not just the wind farms that are affecting birds and bats, even solar farms are. Large portions of land are used to build solar farms which sometimes impact many plants, shrubs, and biodiversity. In addition, the reflective glass on the solar panels presents a collision risk to bird species, as they perceive them to be water bodies and take a dive into them. 

In India, the Supreme Court of India recently heard a case where an endangered species, the Great India Bustard was colliding with powerlines that were located near solar farms. The case ultimately led the top court of India to recognize the right to protection against the damaging effects of climate change as a distinct fundamental right in the Indian Constitution

Wrapping Up – We Need Climate Solutions

All our climate solutions are important levers for the energy transition to renewable sources and make a significant contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. 

Therefore this article is not to rebuke or criticize climate actions, we need them, but we also need to acknowledge the challenges involved with the production of these clean energy solutions. It is pertinent that as a matter of urgency, we evaluate these situations and work to solve them. 



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Change Started is a platform that covers stories, news, research, analysis, opinions, best practices from around the world on issues that are important for the environment and protecting our Planet.

Through inclusive climate action, which includes people like you and me, we can create a sustainable planet.

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