Media Mentions

Laos Dams: Powering the Future - Al Jazeera 101 East (part 1)

Thursday, August 13, 2009
Poverty is high in the small south-east Asian country of Laos, with 40 per cent of children stunted from malnutrition. But the country does have one trump card. Its mountains and rivers are ideal for dams, to produce energy that could be sold to power-hungry neighbours like Thailand. Critics claim these dams will block fish migration, cause massive environmental damage and affect millions of people who depend on the rivers to survive. But the Laos government is determined to press ahead, building eight hydro-electric projects on the Mekong river and another 50 on its tributaries. 101 East

Power to Some People

Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Pumping hydropower from the Democratic Republic of Congo to South Africa may be an environmental dream come true, but there are issues around social justice that are dampening the excitement somewhat. Critics say the Grand Inga and Inga III plants, planned for the Inga region on the Congo River, will not provide power to the African continent as a whole but will light up only those countries and industries that can afford it. There are 500-million people in Africa without access to electricity, according to the World Energy Council, or 75%, according to the World Bank. And although t

The HSAF process - view from an NGO

Friday, June 19, 2009
International Water Power & Dam Construction Peter Bosshard of International Rivers argues that the industry-led HSAF process falls behind current international standards, and may create new conflicts in the hydro power sector Large dams that did not consider the interests of affected communities and the environment have impoverished affected communities and degraded ecosystems around the world. Civil society campaigns against such projects have often caused massive delays and cost overruns and have sunk large-scale investments. The World Bank’s safeguard policies, the Equator

Boom in Hydropower Pits Fish Against Climate

Monday, July 27, 2009
The Rocky Reach Dam has straddled the wide, slow Columbia River since the 1950s. It generates enough electricity to supply homes and industries across Washington and Oregon. But the dam in recent years hasn't produced as much power as it might: Its massive turbines act as deadly blender blades to young salmon, and engineers often have had to let the river flow over the spillway to halt the slaughter, wasting the water's energy potential. The ability of the nation's aging hydroelectric dams to produce energy free of the curse of greenhouse gas emissions and Middle Eastern pol

ASIA: Dams Threaten "Millions of Mekong Livelihoods"

Wednesday, July 22, 2009
PHNOM PENH, 22 July 2009 (IRIN) - For thousands of years, the Mekong River has nourished civilizations and housed one of the world’s most diverse populations of fish and plants. Yet 17 dams recently built on the Mekong and its tributaries in China, Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam, as well as 11 more in the planning process, are threatening Mekong fisheries – and thereby the food security they have provided for millions, critics warn. “People affected could number in the millions, due to the extensive changes expected to the river’s ecosystem downstream,” Aviva Imhof, campaigns dir

Critics Fault Climate-Change Legislation

Monday, June 22, 2009
Originally published in the San Francisco Chronicle At the Joseph Farms dairy in Atwater (Merced County), farmers aren't just transforming milk into cheese. They've also figured out how to turn manure into fuel - and a paycheck. By storing waste from the dairy's 5,000 cows in a covered 7-acre lagoon and removing methane from it using sophisticated equipment, the farm is generating power that keeps refrigerators, lights and pumps running at its cheese plant. The project keeps the heat-trapping greenhouse gas methane out of the atmosphere, thereby netting the farm another payback in the form of

Mekong River Dolphins at Risk of Extinction

Thursday, June 18, 2009
It is the life blood for tens of millions of people -- but the mighty Mekong River in southeast Asia is now facing a "devastating" threat from not one, but 11 proposed dams. A group of NGOs has come together to issue the stark warning, claiming if the plans go ahead for hydroelectric projects in Laos, Cambodia and Thailand, that people, animals and the environment will all suffer irreparably. Under the banner "Save the Mekong" campaigners are hoping to pressure regional governments to shelve the plans, which are being put forward by private companies from Malaysia, T

Coalition Raises Dam Worries

Thursday, June 18, 2009
Eleven large-scale hydropower dams proposed for the Mekong River's lower mainstream will threaten regional food security and the livelihoods of millions of people, including thousands inside Cambodia, according a regional anti-dam coalition. As part of a new campaign to be launched in Bangkok today, representatives from the Save the Mekong coalition, which includes NGOs, community groups and citizens, are to present Thailand's Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva with a petition signed by 15,000 people calling for the halt of controversial dam developments. The signatures were colle

China Reins in Dam Builders

Thursday, June 18, 2009
Originally published in the IPS News Agency BEIJING, Jun 18 (IPS) - Beijing has reined in China's unbridled dam-building spree, issuing warnings to power-hungry developers that stimulating the economy in a time of crisis should not be used as an excuse to forego environmental reviews of big hydroelectric projects. Nevertheless, the country remains committed to a series of dam schemes outside of its borders as its role grows as a global financier and builder. Over the last few months, Beijing has pulled the plug on several highly controversial dam projects in resource-rich southwestern China -

The Damming of the Mekong: Major Blow to an Epic River

Tuesday, June 16, 2009
The Swift Boats are long gone. The Mekong delta is peaceful now. Vinh Long, where Americans fought skirmishes with the Vietcong, is now a holiday resort. The Westerners heading off into the remoter regions of the enormous delta point nothing more threatening than a camera — and the only ambush they face is at the hands of traders at the nearby Can Tho floating market. Vietnam is now a fast-growing, Westernizing economy. But, paradoxically, peace and prosperity is currently the biggest threat to what is one of the world’s last great wild rivers. Almost half a century of wars in southeast


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