Impacts & Adaptation

Yesterday’s Technologies a Bad Match for Tomorrow’s Problems

Friday, March 25, 2011
World Bank Energy Strategy: Yesterday’s Technologies a Bad Match for Tomorrow’s ProblemsBerkeley, California - In a time of climate change, decentralized, adaptable and diversified water and energy projects are best suited to respond to increasingly variable and unpredictable weather patterns. Large dams risk becoming uneconomic due to droughts, and unsafe due to more extreme storms. They will also further degrade freshwater ecosystems which are already reeling under the impacts of climate change. In spite of this, the World Bank’s new Energy Strategy calls for increased funding for larg

Adapting to a New Normal

The Aral Sea – a global poster-child of bad water management – once supported a major fishery until dams and irrigation diversions drained it.
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
From September 2010 World Rivers Review When it comes to water, the past is no longer a reliable guide to the future Water, like energy, is essential to virtually every human endeavor. The growing number of water shortages around the world and the possibility of these shortages leading to economic disruption, food crises, social tensions, and even war suggest that the challenges posed by water in the coming decades will rival those posed by declining oil supplies. In fact, our water problem turns out to be much more worrisome than our energy situation, for three main reasons. First, unlike o

Interview: Climate Change, Rivers and Dams – We're in Hot Water

Dr. Margaret Palmer
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
From September 2010 World Rivers Review Dr. Margaret Palmer Rivers are the planet's lifelines, but the double threat of human interventions combined with climate change is already seriously compromising their health – and, by extension, ours. A major study last year found an overall decline in total discharge of most of the world's major rivers – changes that could affect up to a billion people. Here we interview Dr. Margaret Palmer, director of the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory at the University of Maryland and a leading expert on how climate change impacts rivers. What are your bi

World Rivers Review: Focus on Rivers, Water and Climate - September 2010

Risky Business in the Face of Climate Change Catastrophic flooding in Pakistan, dam breaks around the world, and drought-caused blackouts in Africa provide ample warning of how global warming is changing the hydrological cycle. This special issue on rivers, water and climate examines the risks associated with building dams at a time when we can't predict either high or low flows. Get the full story on what these challenges mean for dam safety, river-based communities, energy production, and the environment – and the solutions that can help us survive. Download the September 2010 issue Downs

Global Lessons from the Pakistan Flood Catastrophe

Soldiers help flood survivors board an evacuation truck
Soldiers help flood survivors board an evacuation truck There 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. We should be doing everything we can and more to cut our greenhouse gas pollution. We can slow the rise in heat and limit the maximum temperature level (provided we avoi

Tipping the Scales on Hydropower and Climate Change

In weighing the costs and benefits of large-dam hydropower within the context of climate change, how do the scales add up? You've heard us talk about how large reservoirs contribute to climate change through the emission of methane, how dams make rivers less resilient to climate change, threaten biodiversity, and of course, displace thousands of people upstream while negatively impacting thousands more downstream. That's the costs side. You've also probably heard how hydropower averts greenhouse gas emissions from polluting coal plants and can be used as a mitigation tool in the face of cli

Map of Climate Change Hotspots

Will A River Still Run Through It? Around the world, climate change is melting glaciers that feed major rivers, contributing to drought-induced hydroelectricity blackouts, and threatening the water supply and river resources of billions of people. As major rivers worldwide experience dramatic changes in flow due to dams, their natural ability to adjust to and absorb disturbances decreases. Rather than being part of the solution, dirty dams are too often a big part of the problem. Here we present a some key climate change impacts that threaten the world’s rivers and the people who depend on

Water Justice at Copenhagen (or Lack Thereof)

Daniel Bachhuber On the final day of the COP15 climate negotiations at Copenhagen, leaders have reportedly reached a final deal, though one that insufficiently deals with emissions reduction targets, timelines, accountability, compliance, and the question of who's responsible for adaptation and mitigation action and funding. Water justice - the belief that every human being deserves the right to access clean water to meet their basic needs - is another issue that has largely been glossed over by delegates these past two weeks. Over at the Klimaforum, global water activists attempted

Flood Disasters Highlight Urgent Need for "Green Infrastructure"

Ecological stormwater Management in Portland, Oregon
Ecological stormwater Management in Portland, Oregon La-Citta-Vita @ Flickr Bad 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 fou

Call to Copenhagen: Hear Our Voices

Around the world, climate change is already melting glaciers that feed major rivers, drowing islands, feeding forest wildfires, and threatening the water supply and river resources of billions of people. Out of the global calamity, a growing international movement is gathering to send a message to the governments convening in Copenhagen this December. International Rivers will be there, standing in solidarity with those most impacted by climate change. Watch a video on the human impact of climate change around the world, which was produced by TckTckTck's human voices project:


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