Impacts & Adaptation

Wrong Climate for Damming Rivers Video

International Rivers and Friends of the Earth International have teamed up to create a state-of-the-art Google Earth 3-D tour and video narrated by Nigerian activist Nnimmo Bassey, winner of the prestigious Right Livelihood Award. The production was launched on the first day of the COP 17 climate meeting in Durban. The video and tour allow viewers to explore why dams are not the right answer to climate change, by learning about topics such as reservoir emissions, dam safety, and adaptation while visiting real case studies in Africa, the Himalayas and the Amazon.

World Bank to Lead Climate Finance Without Energy Strategy?

Monday, November 28, 2011
On the first day of COP17 in Durban, South Africa, we launched a report with a host of other organizations working on climate change to shame the World Bank for promoting climate finance while not agreeing to a truly clean, forward-thinking Energy Strategy in 2011. The Bank lacks an Energy Strategy that promotes truly renewable energy and decentralized energy solutions to erradicate energy poverty. Read the report below, and Take Action to send a message to the World Bank to leave large hydropower out of its Energy Strategy. Unclear on the Concept Follow this link to download the report cour

New Google Earth Animation Shows How Damming Rivers Will Worsen Climate Crisis

Monday, November 28, 2011
For Immediate Release International Rivers and Friends of the Earth International have teamed up to create a state-of-the-art Google Earth 3-D tour and video narrated by Nigerian activist Nnimmo Bassey, winner of the prestigious Right Livelihood Award. The production was launched at the COP17 climate meeting in Durban. The video and tour allow viewers to explore why dams are not the right answer to climate change, by learning about topics such as reservoir emissions, dam safety, and adaptation while visiting real case studies in Africa, the Himalayas and the Amazon. For example, the tour illus

10 Ways to Protect Rivers from Climate Change and Dams

Glacial lakes in Bhutan
Healthy rivers are critical for supporting life on Earth. They are especially necessary in light of the additional stresses that climate change will have on river-dependent communities and ecosystems. Watch our Google Earth 3D tour and read our online factsheet to learn more about why damming rivers is the wrong solution to climate change, and then take the 10 steps towards building a more river-conscious community: Spread the Word 1. Share the Google Earth video with your friends, families, and coworkers on Facebook and Twitter. 2. Show the video during an International Day of Action for

Why Big Dams Are the Wrong Response to Climate Change

The reservoir of ther Balbina Dam in Brazil emits more greenhouse gases than a coal-fired power plant
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
The reservoir of ther Balbina Dam in Brazil emits more greenhouse gases than a coal-fired power plant Wikimedia Commons The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published its Special Report on Renewable Energy on June 14, 2011. The report provides strong evidence for the large potential of renewable energy sources to mitigate the impacts of climate change. Its quality is weakened by a strong bias in the treatment of the hydropower sector. The attached critique by International Rivers points out the flaws in the IPCC report’s hydropower chapter, and complements it with critical f

Don’t Sacrifice the Planet’s Arteries to Save Her Lungs

Pascua River, Chile
Pascua River, Chile According to a new report which the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published today, the sky is the limit for the expansion of renewable energy. With an investment of slightly less than 1% of global GDP, renewable energy could contribute up to 43% of the world’s energy supply by 2030, and 77% by 2050. Such an increase could stabilize the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere at 450 ppm and may be just enough to avoid catastrophic climate change. It would also boost energy access for the 1.4 billion people who currently live without access to electricity.

How Dams Can Kick up a Storm and Change Our Climate

Lightning Storm
Lightning Storm Wikimedia Commons Only 140 kilometers from our Berkeley office, the Folsom Dam towers 100 meter high over the American River. When it was built in the 1950s, the project was supposed to withstand the most severe flood in 250 years. Yet after it was completed, strong floods suddenly became more frequent and overtopped the dam at several instances. Until a safety upgrade goes forward, 440,000 people in the downstream area are exposed to the highest level of flood risk in the US. Scientists have now found evidence that the project’s problem may be partly of its own making, an

JVE Statement on Dams and Climate Change in Africa

Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Dams are not solutions to climate change and Africa’s energy needs Since their independence, developing countries have been building large hydroelectric dams to boost their economy. Due to climate change water resources are becoming scarce. But it is clear that large dams do not meet energy needs of Africa nor solve disasters related to climate change. Given the widespread concern over climate change related to greenhouse gas emissions, dam promoters are now stressing that hydroelectricity is a clean source of energy, thus being the best candidate to substitute fossil fuel-based energy sourc

Climate Funds to Underwrite the World Bank’s Love Affair with Big Dams?

Dead trees in Balbina Reservoir
Dead trees in Balbina Reservoir Pedro Ivo Simoes Climate funds such as the Prototype Carbon Fund and the European carbon market prioritize support for renewable energy technologies, and exclude large hydropower from this definition. There are good reasons for this: Big dams irreversibly damage freshwater ecosystems, which are already reeling under the impacts of climate change. Slow, lumpy investments in large dams are not well suited for the uncertainties of climate change, which call for nimble, decentralized and flexible energy strategies. Finally, the purpose of carbon credits is to fac

Comments on the Role of Hydropower in the World Bank's Energy Strategy

Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Dams and Climate ChangeThe World Bank Energy Strategy incorrectly argues that hydropower is an appropriate response to climate change.  The report argues that hydropower with storage can help cope with climate variability and change through flood and drought management (paragraph 113).  However, as noted in paragraph 117, hydrological flow is itself affected by climate change-induced variability.  Reduced hydrological flow will render big-dam storage a less reliable source of water and energy, and could perversely reduce the ability of river-based communities to adapt to climate change. 

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