Patrick McCully's picture
Personal bio:
Former Executive Director, and author of Silenced Rivers: The Ecology and Politics of Large Dams.
Date: Wednesday, December 1, 2010 - 17:41
Paddy McCully & Peter Bosshard vs Bujagali FallsAfter 17 years with International Rivers I'm leaving at the end of January to become Executive Director of Black Rock Solar, a non-profit based in San Francisco that installs solar panels while also doing clean energy advocacy, art and education.As Juliet told Romeo, "Parting is such sweet sorrow." I’m excited about my new position, and also sad to be leaving my wonderful colleagues and friends inside International Rivers and in the broader global dam-fighting and river-saving movement beyond.
Date: Thursday, August 26, 2010 - 10:50
www.stickergiant.comThe Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) has long been known to be a honey pot of carbon credit income for cheating project developers. But a recent investigation commissioned by German NGO CDMWatch shows that the problem is even worse than many critics had feared.
Date: Tuesday, August 24, 2010 - 11:49
Soldiers help flood survivors board an evacuation truckdvnews.orgThere are three vital global lessons to learn from the ongoing flood catastrophe in Pakistan. First, the rise in the planetary temperature has reached a tipping point. We are now in a scary new era of extreme weather. Extremes are the new normal. And there's no going back, at least not in our lifetime, and very likely not in that of our children.
Date: Monday, August 2, 2010 - 12:56
My recent blog comparing the global hydro industry’s stagnation with the rapid growth in the wind and solar sectors was based on preliminary data for wind and solar in 2009, and my guesstimate for that year’s hydro additions. Better statistics are now available for all three technologies.
Date: Thursday, June 24, 2010 - 16:04
Annual capacity additions of dam-based hydro and new renewablesI just blogged on the Huffington Post about how the global wind power industry is blowing big hydro right out of the water in terms of how many turbines it is installing every year.In 2002, new installations of wind power worldwide exceeded the capacity of new big hydro for the first time ever. Wind power engineers installed more megawatts than their big hydro competitors three times over the following six years. [While no hydro data are yet available for 2009] data on trends in new big hydro capacity from the last decade suggests that 2009 wind installations were likely at least a quarter more than big hydro -- and that the dammers will never again get close to wind power's annual additions.
Date: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 - 12:30
SeaGen tidal current generator. Strangford Lough, N. quiet revolution is underway in the world of hydropower. A suite of emerging technologies holds the promise of a benign form of power generation that, unlike today's big-dam hydro, does not ruin rivers, wipe out wildlife and destroy communities.
Date: Monday, January 25, 2010 - 12:13
Tolstoy believed that it was the existence of the rich that was the real cause of Russian poverty.I just attended an excellent report-back from the Copenhagen climate talks fiasco. The speakers included Payal Parekh, climate director from my own organization, International Rivers, and representatives from other great Bay Area enviro organizations,, Rainforest Action Network and EcoEquity.
Date: Wednesday, November 25, 2009 - 18:09
Date: Thursday, October 22, 2009 - 17:48
Across the road from the International Rivers office, on the UC Berkeley campus, is the Water Resources Center Archives, an irreplaceable treasure for anyone interested in the history, politics and science of water, particularly in California and the US West, but also the rest of the world. The Archives’ collection is open to the general public, not just students. I used it at lot in the mid-1990s when writing my book Silenced Rivers. Before our recent move into the David Brower Center, International Rivers donated to the Archives 20+ years of unique documentation related to campaigns around the world to stop dams and save rivers.
Date: Thursday, October 15, 2009 - 15:55
Ecological stormwater Management in Portland, OregonLa-Citta-Vita @ FlickrBad news about climate disasters has been coming so depressingly thick and fast of late that major catastrophes are now going almost unnoticed by the US media. The states of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh in south India just suffered some of their worst flooding on record. Around 280 people were killed, a quarter of a million homes destroyed, and millions of acres of crops ruined. The region is now threatened with serious food shortages. Yet despite being an obsessive consumer of printed and electronic news, I only found out about the floods from a listserv on Indian water issues.
Date: Tuesday, June 16, 2009 - 18:26
Steven Colbert[Truthiness: The quality of seeming to be true, even if this contradicts evidence or rational thought -] Explanations of the current version of the Waxman-Markey energy and climate bill (the American Clean Energy and Security Act or ACES) usually state that it will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from US polluters by 17% below 2005 levels by 2020 and by 83% by 2050. (At the time of writing, the "current" version is the version passed by the House Energy and Commerce Committee).
Date: Monday, April 13, 2009 - 17:52
International Rivers and the International Labor Rights Forum are urging shareholders in Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Corp. to support a resolution requesting company management to produce a sustainability report.
Date: Monday, March 23, 2009 - 23:42
Smitu KothariI am greatly saddened by the news that Indian scholar-activist Smitu Kothari died on Monday morning of a cardiac arrest. Smitu was 59. He was a pillar of Indian and international campaigns against dams and other destructive development projects and policies, and for social justice and peace.
Date: Friday, March 6, 2009 - 15:27
Date: Thursday, March 5, 2009 - 10:03
“To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.”  President Barack Obama, January 20, 2009
Date: Saturday, February 28, 2009 - 23:43
A succession of good news on climate from Washington last week. Obama's proposed budget includes a carbon cap with full auctioning of allowances and most of the proceeds rebated directly back to taxpayers; Democratic leaders announced they would switch the Capitol Power Plant - the number one source of air pollution in DC - from coal to gas (see here and here); and the House of Representatives passed an omnibus spending bill which nixes funding for a World Bank fund that would promote new coal plants in the name of fighting climate change (rather like pushing dams to protect rivers).
Date: Monday, February 23, 2009 - 23:06
No, Obama didn’t just wade into the controversy over whether the disastrous 2008 Sichuan earthquake was triggered by Zipingpu Dam. The headline above is based on a future scenario described in the US National Intelligence Council’s “Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World.”
Date: Monday, December 22, 2008 - 15:08
Deborah & Andre at Paddy's FarewellLeadership consultant, non-profit governance guru, artiste and evil genius Andre Carothers, just sent me this old song of his he found while doing an end-of-year dunging out of his hard drive. Andre performed this song at an International Rivers Network fundraising dinner in San Francisco in 2002. We were so ashamed that we decided (after five years' deliberation) to change our name. We also stopped talking to Andre until recently when he took advantage of our Blagojevich fundraising scam and bought himself the seat of vice chair on our board (note to IRS and FBI - that was a joke).
Date: Sunday, December 7, 2008 - 02:17
Pelamis Wave Energy Converter at Agucadoura, PortugalS. Portland / Renewable energy blogger Unergy has a recent diary posting on Daily Kos with a list of 20 emerging ocean hydropower technologies. Presumably many of these technologies will never emerge from the prototype stage, but given the clean energy imperative it's likely some of these inventions - or something similar - will become common features of our coastlines in the future.
Date: Wednesday, December 3, 2008 - 11:27
International Rivers' critiques of the Clean Development Mechanism just got some influential support from the Government Accountability Office, the “audit, evaluation and investigative arm of Congress.”
Date: Thursday, November 27, 2008 - 22:42
A slew of emerging technologies are redefining the concept of "hydropower." For almost a century, hydro has been synonymous with river-killing dams. But now a range of "hydrokinetic" technologies that convert into electricity the kinetic energy of flowing water - rather than the potential energy in falling water - offer the hope that in future "sustainable hydro" could offer more than big hydro industry greenwashing.
Date: Thursday, November 27, 2008 - 21:25
In September I spent a couple of days touring Congressional offices in Washington with Karen Orenstein from Friends of the Earth, US, a key ally on our climate change work. We were talking to senators' and representatives' staff about carbon offsets - in particular, international ones (i.e. CDM credits) - and whether they should be eligible to be used in the cap-and-trade regime which is expected to be passed by Congress over the next year or two.
Date: Thursday, November 27, 2008 - 13:55
Mary River Information Center, Kadanga, QueenslandPatrick McCully/International RiversCommunities in the Mary Valley in Queensland, Australia, are celebrating the announcement by state Premier, Anna Bligh, that construction on a bitterly opposed dam would be delayed by up to four years. The Traveston Crossing Dam would displace hundreds of families, flood thousands of acres of rich farmland, and endanger iconic species including the Queensland lungfish and the endangered Mary River turtle and cod. Proponents claim the dam is needed to increase water storage because of the worsening droughts caused by global warming. Opponents point to studies showing numerous cheaper alternatives for saving and storing water, and the high evaporation and greenhouse gas emissions from the big, shallow reservoir.
Date: Friday, November 21, 2008 - 00:50
Thanks to Joseph Romm, the unbelievably prolific blogger at the excellent Climate Progress, for the term "Rip Off-sets." We've ripped it off to use as the title for our latest factsheet on the Clean Development Mechanism. We'll be distributing the factsheet to the CDM Executive Board and various other government officials, policy wonks, activists and carbon traders at the upcoming UN climate conference in Poznan, Poland.
Date: Thursday, November 20, 2008 - 17:16
Hoover Dam intake, July in March I wrote about a study showing a 50% chance that climate change would leave "Lake" Mead dry by 2021. Lake Mead is the huge (or at least formerly huge) reservoir behind Hoover Dam on the Colorado River. The reservoir supplies almost all the water for Las Vegas and much of that used by milllions of people in southern California and Arizona. Turns out that maybe things aren't quite that bad, yet. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, a study to be released next year will show odds of less than 5% that the lake will dry up by 2021, and of 40% it will go dry in any given year after 2050.
Date: Tuesday, November 18, 2008 - 11:32
Welcome to International Rivers' climate blog! Our climate team (Barbara Haya, Patrick McCully, Payal Parekh, Ann-Kathrin Schneider and Katy Yan) will be covering a variety of hot dam and climate related issues. We'll cast a critical eye at carbon offsets, and in particular the efforts by the hydro lobby to make money out of the Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism. And we'll look at what better ways may exist to transfer climate friendly financing and technology.