WWF and Nature Conservancy release new report

13 May 2019

A new report has been released by WWF and The Nature Conservancy which they say demonstrates how the renewable revolution can achieve global climate and energy goals without damming the world’s remaining free flowing rivers.

Connected and Flowing: A renewable future for rivers, climate and people details the transformations that are already underway and how the world can capitalize on these opportunities to achieve sustainable power systems, says the organizations.

 “We can not only envision a future where electricity systems are accessible, affordable and powering economies with a mix of renewable energy, we can now build that future,” said Jeff Opperman, WWF Freshwater Scientist and lead author on the report. “By accelerating the renewable energy revolution, we can secure a brighter future for people and nature with power systems that are low carbon, low cost and low impact.”

With contributions from multiple academics, the report found that accelerating the renewable revolution could prevent nearly 165,000km of river channels from being fragmented, while still helping to limit global temperatures to below a rise of 1.5° C.

Mark Lambrides, The Nature Conservancy’s Director of Energy and Infrastructure said: “A key recommendation of last week’s landmark global assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel for Biodiversity and Ecosystems Services was for governments to protect and restore river connectivity. Here we show how, for the first time, the renewable energy revolution offers an opportunity to plan for the right mix of renewable sources in power systems, while avoiding fragmenting rivers, potentially displacing communities and contributing to the loss of freshwater fisheries that feed millions.”

The report comes days after a global study published in Nature said that just 37% of the world’s longest rivers remain free-flowing.

The new report says that while the renewable revolution will not signal an end to hydropower development, it does herald a significant reduction in new dams and a shift towards low-impact projects, which support the expansion of solar and wind – such as retrofitting existing hydropower dams, adding turbines to non-powered dams, and off channel pumped storage.

The potential of utility-scale, low-impact wind and solar – on converted lands, such as agricultural and degraded land and rooftops – represents the equivalent of 17 times the renewable energy targets that countries have committed to under the Paris Climate Agreement and should allow almost all countries to achieve power systems that are low carbon, low cost, and low impact on nature, it says.

 



Privacy Policy
We have updated our privacy policy. In the latest update it explains what cookies are and how we use them on our site. To learn more about cookies and their benefits, please view our privacy policy. Please be aware that parts of this site will not function correctly if you disable cookies. By continuing to use this site, you consent to our use of cookies in accordance with our privacy policy unless you have disabled them.