Tropical Hydro is a Significant Source of Greenhouse Gases: A Response to the International Hydropower Association

Patrick McCully
Wednesday, December 1, 2004

The International Hydropower Association released a four–page document entitled "Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Reservoirs" at the UN climate convention negotiations in Milan in December 2003. The IHA concludes that hydropower contributes very little to climate change when compared to fossil fuel generating options. The IHA’s assertions are variously irrelevant, incomplete or simply wrong.

Although much more research is needed for a complete understanding of this issue, on current evidence the climate impact of reservoir–based hydropower schemes in the tropics is frequently worse than fossil–based alternatives. In colder regions, reservoir emissions are lower than fossil equivalents – although not as low as the IHA claims. Download below International Rivers' full response to the IHA.