The ecological transition is already underway. Although the health situation has overshadowed the climate crisis, it has not managed to relegate it as the financial collapse did at the beginning of the century. The climate crisis is no longer a postponable task and the public administration is increasingly aware of it. The environment is leaving sectoral policies and transcends beyond awareness and environmental education. Today, environmental policy already occupies important places within government teams. An example is the new Ministry of Economic Development, Sustainability and the Environment of the Basque Government or the Third Vice-Presidency for Ecological Transition of the state government.

But as the popular proverb says, not all the mountains are oregano. Despite the advances, civil society, academia and also the company have to continue being critical and paying attention to this transition that is already underway today. In addition to celebrating the change of course and the apparent boost in financing that the ecological transition will receive with European Next Generation funds, we must also be vigilant that the transition is real and fair (see article).

The green economy, although it is better than the polluting economy, is not exempt from environmental impact. The ecological transition cannot be understood without an energy transition. And this is precisely a good example of why we must continue to be vigilant. The energy transition cannot be limited to moving from energy generation through fossil sources to generating it through renewable sources.

Yeah the voices that are raised to put on the table the environmental problems derived from renewable energies or electrification of the private vehicle. The dams of hydroelectric power plants have been focus of local conflict in various territories of the world for decades. an infrastructure of renewable energy production does not have to be socially just or environmentally sustainable by the simple fact of producing energy that generates fewer emissions greenhouse effect than a coal or combined cycle plant.

It that is seen clearly with hydroelectric, is better hidden in solar energy or in the wind A study published in Nature states that the mining required to the production of more materials for the production of renewable technologies poses risks for The Biodiversity. It is stated that “without strategic planning”, these new threats to biodiversity will be greater even than those avoided with the climate change mitigation.

and Not only the production of these technologies has an impact. They also impact in the environment during its use, an example of this are the wind turbines in the mountain ranges and solar farms in agricultural areas. Its impact on the landscape is considerable, and they also have an impact on the local fauna, especially avifauna. And although these impacts have been commented on more than once and have there have been citizen and environmental platforms that have denounced it, of what There is not much talk about the waste generated. There is still a way to go to make the renewable energy generation industry truly sustainable. Both the materials that make up the photovoltaic panels and the Windmill blades are difficult to disassemble, which prevents the recovery and recycling of materials used. Today those residues they have a greater destination than landfills, although researching to dispose of said waste.

For On the other hand, the world demand for electricity will increase by 60 percent in the next 20 years, according to the BloombergNEF report (New Energy Outlook 2018). This leads us to reflect that there are two ways out of this crossroads. On the one hand, make the energy industry socially and environmentally sustainable renewables and on the other reduce energy consumption. Those of us who believe in before the invention of the elevator it was necessary to build stairs in the buildings, we cannot afford to wait for technology to save us all.

The energy transition will have to assume both strategies. While it is true that all energy consumed in the future must come from renewable sources, There is no reason to continue increasing energy consumption.

Today it seems that the elevator has already been invented, and that, moreover, more and more buildings are installing them. Now it’s time to realize that, even if it is there, and its usefulness solves the accessibility problems of some, the rest of us can continue using the stairs and thus reduce the bill that we will end up paying between all of us.

Aitor Mingo Bilbao

MSc in Sustainable Cities