Climate Change

Hydrodependency in Africa: Risky Business

Thursday, September 9, 2010
From September 2010 World Rivers Review The world gets about 20% of its electricity from hydropower, but in Sub-Saharan Africa that number is 60% (excluding coal-heavy South Africa) – and many countries get more than 80% of their electricity from dams. Drought-caused blackouts are common, and expected to get worse with climate change. Hundreds more dams are being planned, many of them in already dangerously hydro-dependent regions. This map shows the current status of hydrodependency across the continent, and plots some key proposed dams in these places. Finally, we include some informati

Hydro Developers Continue Efforts to Rip-Off the Climate

Bujagali Falls
Bujagali Falls In the past month, International Rivers has submitted comments on the applications to the Clean Development Mechanism for two nasty hydro projects: Bugajali Dam in Uganda, and Bonyic Dam in Panama. Our local partners have been active in opposing these projects on environmental and social grounds. Like most, if not all, of the 749 large hydro dams that have been approved to sell CDM carbon offsets, or have applied for approval, these dams will be completed regardless of receiving carbon credit income. They therefore should be ineligible for the CDM, which requires projects to b

Floods in Pakistan: Lend a Hand and Learn a Lesson

Exodus in Punjab.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Exodus in Punjab. Action Aid The floods that are currently ravaging Pakistan have created a human tragedy beyond imagination. At least 1,600 people have lost their lives, 20 million people have been affected, and 4 million people have been left homeless. Many families have lost their whole existence – their homes, fields, crops and cattle – overnight, with no safety net to fall back on. The floods have also washed away schools, health centers, roads and bridges. Pakistan's civil society and international aid agencies are doing their utmost to bring relief to the victims of this traged

Civil Society Letter to the World Bank on Large Hydropower

Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Ms. Kathy Sierra Vice President, Sustainable Development Network The World Bank 1818 H Street NW Washington, DC 20433 Dear Ms. Sierra, As the World Bank Group develops its Energy Strategy, we are concerned that the Bank's pledge to increase support for large hydropower projects will result in increased poverty and irreversible social and environmental damages. A decade after the release of the World Bank-supported World Commission on Dams (WCD) report, the evidence continues to mount that large dams bring significant and unmitigated costs to society and to riverine ecosystems: The UN'

Water Alternatives: Special Issue on the WCD+10

Tucuruí dam in Brazil
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Tucuruí dam in Brazil Andreas Missbach In November 2000, the World Commission on Dams published its ground-breaking report, Dams and Development, after an unprecedented multi-stakeholder process. Ten years later, Water Alternatives, an independent academic online journal, revisits the WCD and its impacts in a special issue, and explores the question: Is the WCD still relevant? A team of editors and guest editors have selected a range of 20 papers, six viewpoints, and four book reviews that help to illustrate the evolution in the dams debate. The goal of the special issue is to examine the in

Comments to the WCI on the Offset System Essential Elements Draft Recommendations Paper

Wednesday, May 12, 2010
International Rivers Submission to the WCI Offset Committee International Rivers provides the following comments regarding the WCI Offsets Committee's "Offset System Essential Elements Draft Recommendations Paper" issued in April 2010. We believe that the WCI's first priority must be to ensure the environmental integrity of the emissions cap and any offsets that may be used to achieve the regional cap. Our core concerns are that the WCI develop processes to ensure that offsets deliver reductions that are real, additional, verifiable and enforceable by WCI partners, and resul

When Do You Compromise on Climate Change?

As regional and national climate change bills continue to ebb and flow in the US, environmental groups have often found themselves split down the middle depending on how much they are willing to compromise with industry. On the one hand, you have big green groups throwing their support behind the upcoming Kerry-Lieberman-Graham (KGL) bill (still unpublished), even though there are some glaring loopholes and red flags. These groups include Environment America, Alliance for Climate Protection, Environmental Defense Fund, National Wildlife Federation, and the Natural Resources Defense Council,

Rally Against Offsets and For Real Climate Solutions

Mobilization for Climate Justice–West
Mobilization for Climate Justice–West On August 15th of 2009, our friends at Mobilization for Climate Justice–West held a successful rally, march, and non-violent demonstrationat the Richmond Chevron refinery to call for a strong, binding and justagreement at the Copenhagen climate talks in December. Over 300 peopleshowed up to create "street heat" for climate justice. You can check out their photos here. The Mobilization for Climate Justice is a North America-based network of activists and organizations, including International Rivers, the Asian-Pacific Environment Networ

Methane Emissions from a Temperate Reservoir

A new study appeared in the scientific journal Environmental Science and Technology that has documented significant methane emissions from a temperate hydropower reservoir in Switzerland.  The field and modeling study found that the 90-year-old Wohlen See reservoir in central Switzerland is a very significant source of methane, almost entirely due to bubbling sediments. The total methane emission from Lake Wohlen was on average > 150 mg methane m2/day, the highest ever documented for a midlatitude reservoir. The authors suggest that the specific characteristics of this reservoir

The Next Wave

A tidal turbine
Monday, March 8, 2010
A Bright Future For Hydro – Without Dams From March 2010 World Rivers Review A quiet revolution is underway in the world of hydropower. An emerging non-dam based hydro industry holds the promise of economically viable technologies that do not deplete resources or warm the planet, and do not wipe out species, ecosystems and cultures. With supportive policies from governments, non-dam hydro could become a key part of the world's energy mix over the coming decades, and could, as wind power already has, overtake big-dam hydro in terms of its share of new capacity additions. A t

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