Desert Species, Endangered by Climate Change and Renewable Energy, Create Controversy

The wind strewn and sunny parts of California are home to many species threatened both by climate change and renewable energy facilities like wind and solar power facilities. What is an environmentalist to do?

1 minute read

August 23, 2020, 9:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

California Desert

FrankDeBonis / Shutterstock

"Renewable energy corporations have launched an eleventh-hour campaign to derail a petition seeking endangered species protection for Joshua trees, saying it could hinder development of the solar and wind power projects California needs to wean itself off fossil fuels," reports Louis Sahagun.

The political action by renewable energy companies coalescing under the banner of the Solar Energy Industries Association comes ahead of an expected vote by the Fish and Game Commission on August 20 about whether to accept the petition filed by the Center for Biological Diversity and already approved by state biologists.

The renewable energy interests are arguing that by lowering the amount of emissions that cause climate change, renewable energy facilities will be protecting the delicate climate balance that allows Joshua Trees to flourish in California's desert regions.

Brendan Cummings, conservation director at the Center for Biological Diversity and a resident of the community of Joshua Tree, is quoted in the article recognizing the importance of renewable energy to fight climate change but also inciting that renewable energy facilities be built somewhere other than Joshua tree habitat.

"A final decision by the five-member state panel is expected next year. If the trees are listed, the law requires state wildlife managers to devise a recovery plan, which could limit development across thousands of acres of southeastern California’s sunniest real estate," according to Sahagun.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020 in Los Angeles Times

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