About this Research Topic
Humanity now faces a global planetary challenge of attenuating climate change without compromising sustainable development. A global energy transition has commenced to decouple fossil fuels from economic development, in part with high growth in renewable energy alternatives. While renewable energy provides a low carbon alternative to carbon-intensive energy that mitigates climate change supporting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 7, (SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy), it can also undermine the concurrent achievement of other 17 SDGs. For example, waste management will be a challenge without well-structured recycling plans for solar panels and batteries as well as the management of wind turbines made of materials that are currently challenging to recycle, threatening efforts to achieve SDG 12 - Responsible Construction and Production.
However, the development of renewable energy can also reinforce SDGs beyond SDG 7; for example, techno-ecological synergies can result in beneficial outcomes for ecosystems and species, including life below water (SDG 14) and on land (SDG 15) if and when renewable energy installations are well-designed.
Recent work has identified linkages between renewable energy development – both reinforcing synergies and potential Achilles Heels – that require more scholarly thought to ensure a truly sustainable transition. Time is running short on both SDGs and climate goals and this Topic Area sets the stage for novel, solutions-oriented research through 2030 and beyond. This critical juncture in the energy transition provides opportunity to contribute science, technology innovation, and policy towards a sustainable energy future with high contributions of renewable energy.
The aim of this Research Topic is to identify and analyze how high growth in renewable power can either positively or negatively interact with any or all of the 17 SDGs in meeting global climate goals (SDG 7 and 13). The sustainability of present decisions, depends not only on climate mitigation but critical factors such as energy equity (SDGs 1 and 10), waste and resource use (SDG 7), and interactions with biodiversity and land (SDG 15).
We seek contributions that directly address the link between renewable energy development and any or all SDGs. Interdisciplinary submissions are encouraged as well highly specialized, disciplinary research. Areas to be covered in this Research Topic may include, but are not limited to:
· Novel analysis and research that empirically confirms or identifies renewable energy-SDG interactions with an emphasis on solutions
· Scientific advances about our understanding of ecological impacts and benefits of renewable energy, such as techno-ecological synergies
· The development of recycling and reuse programs that substantially reduce waste from high growth in renewable power (e.g., solar panels, batteries, and turbine blades)
· Elucidating implementation enablers and barriers of renewable energy development supporting SDGs
· Solutions-focused life cycle assessments that focus on SDG-renewable interactions (specific SDGs or all)
· Policy and public administration to support meeting SDGs and climate goals
Original Research, Reviews, Perspectives, and Policy Briefs are strongly encouraged, particularly with quantitative analyses. Other article types may be considered.
Keywords: Climate goals, biodiversity and conservation, electricity transition, energy transition, Paris Agreement, renewables, Sustainable Development Goals, sustainability
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.