How We Work

Helping meet the need for affordable energy while keeping our lands and waters healthy.

Making Energy Development Safer and Smarter

Energy development has the potential to impact 50 million acres or more of land in North America by 2030 while also significantly impacting our air and waters. Drawing on its experience and expertise in conservation, The Nature Conservancy is working to shrink the spatial footprint of energy development while reducing greenhouse gas emissions, keeping water clean and safe, and addressing impacts to natural systems.

To achieve these goals, the Conservancy employs Development by Design, an approach that looks at the big picture of energy development impacts. Development by Design means examining the potential impacts of development across a broad geographical area over many years or decades and planning to avoid the most sensitive resources while minimizing the overall impact on our lands, air and water.

By sharing our Development by Design approach and providing valuable scientific data and conservation tools to local communities, policymakers, regulators, and the energy industry, the Conservancy helps ensure that energy development is done the right way in the right places throughout North America.

Read about the application of Development by Design to energy development in Colorado and Wyoming.

Securing Benefits to Nature from Energy Development

Many aspects of today’s energy revolution offer significant benefits to nature. Responsible practices and technological innovation in traditional and renewable energy sectors are reducing the impacts development has on our lands, air and water.

By working with business leaders, policy makers, local communities and other key stakeholders, The Nature Conservancy is helping launch new strategies, tools and policies that ensure energy development will bring benefits to both people and nature.  

Reducing Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions

A warming planet and changing climate threaten to profoundly disrupt natural systems and our way of life. We must drastically reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and slow climate change to preserve nature and protect people. Those efforts must begin with the energy sector, which generates 61 percent of U.S. emissions through transportation and electricity generation.

Greater energy efficiency is the simplest and most cost-effective way to cut emissions from energy use, and eliminates the need to develop new energy sources, avoiding their potential environmental impacts. The Nature Conservancy is initiating and supporting policies and programs that reduce greenhouse gas emissions through direct regulation or by increasing energy efficiency and reducing energy demand throughout the United States.  

Speeding the Transition to a Low-Carbon Energy Future

Transitioning to renewable energy sources and away from high-carbon fuels is crucial to combating climate change and securing a sustainable future. While our society remains dependent on fossil fuels, the energy revolution is providing important stepping-stones to a future where carbon-intensive energy sources make up just a fraction of our energy portfolio. Expanded development of solar and wind resources are making zero-carbon energy more viable and cost-competitive every day. Responsibly developed natural gas can lower greenhouse gas emissions by offering a lower-carbon alternative to coal as a fuel for electricity generation.

The Nature Conservancy is working with partners to encourage the replacement of high-carbon energy sources with lower-carbon alternatives while at the same time preserving communities’ access to affordable energy. 


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