My RSPB Weekend – with Simon Pickering

11 April 2018

The RSPB Weekend was a great event. It was really interesting to be there with a whole conference of enthusiastic naturalists and bird lovers, who were all keen to find out more about the amazing conservation work of the RSPB - from creating new reserves in England, saving albatrosses in the southern oceans to lobbying government on post Brexit energy policy.

I did a wide-ranging talk to a packed audience on how green energy can help nature conservation and discussed the damage that fossil fuels do to the natural world.

I started by putting it in an historical context from 1859 when John Tyndall first demonstrated the thermal adsorption properties of carbon dioxide to the Royal Society. I pointed out that Swedish mathematician Arrhenius predicted that increasing carbon emissions would change the future climate as early 1896, but he joked that it would be 3,000 years before carbon dioxide level would double, so we shouldn’t worry. Little did he know that fossil fuels would experience such a massive growth in the 20th century.

We discussed the options for renewable energy in the UK - solar, wind and battery storage - and how they can be used to achieve our 2050 climate change targets in a way that doesn’t harm nature. We base that on solid scientific research, much of which has been developed by RSPB.

Climate change is such a massive issue that it’s almost too big to comprehend, and as I said in my talk, it takes real courage to tackle it head on. That’s exactly what the RSPB is doing.

They’re Europe’s biggest conservation body and are obviously known for protecting birds. By working with us to build a windmill at their headquarters, they’ve not just made a really strong statement that renewables and wildlife can work together, they’re also saving carbon emissions at the same time.

When I was explaining that to people over the weekend, you could really see people start to get it and understand that there are solutions available to combat the threats of climate change that can work in harmony with nature.

The RSPB are a great partner for us because they understand the threat that climate change poses to birds and wildlife across Europe and the rest of the world. They’re also using good science to make a difference – it’s brilliant to work with them and long may it continue.

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