Climate change is bringing more extreme floods and droughts. Floodplains, marshes, dunes, reefs and mangrove forests - often referred to as green infrastructure or bioshields - are vital to making our societies more climate resilient in the face of extreme weather events. Large dams built today not only weaken the climate resilience of riverine ecosystems, but are themselves highly vulnerable to a changing climate.
An in-depth study of the hydrological risks to hydropower dams on the Zambezi River gives an early warning about what Southern Africa could be facing as it contemplates plans for more large hydropower dams in a time of climate change.
Hydrodependency in Africa: Risky Business Africa has been deemed “the continent most vulnerable to the impacts of projected climate change” by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The continent has one of the most volatile water systems on the planet, and its rivers routinely experience wild swings in flow. For example, variation in the Zambezi River is estimated to be ten times higher than that of most European rivers. This situation will only worsen with climate change. Despite this hydrological risk, thousands of megawatts of hydropower are being proposed for Africa's
This toolkit includes a lesson plan that features a 20-minute video called "Wrong Climate for Damming Rivers, which uses Google Earth to visualize what might happen to the world's major rivers when climate change and the current dam-building boom collide. Students will be encouraged to think critically about the role of dam-building in a changing global environment from a systems-level perspective, at times taking on the role of different stakeholders to understand the complexity of the problem. This toolkit includes the video, extension ideas, and links to additional resources.
International Rivers has created a toolkit, Climate Change, Rivers and Dams: A Video Exploration, for educators and community leaders around the issue of dams, rivers and climate change. This toolkit includes a lesson plan that features the "Wrong Climate for Damming Rivers" 3-D Google Earth video, which uses Google Earth to visualize what might happen to the world's major rivers when climate change and the current dam-building boom collide. This toolkit also includes the video, extension ideas, and links to additional resources. Available in English, Spanish and Portuguese.
In April, 2011, we co-authored a report with Groundwork and Friends of the Earth on energy financing at the World Bank, titled "World Bank, Climate Change, and Energy Financing: Something Old. Something New?". Read the report below, and download the report at the link that follows. Download the report (courtesey of Scribd)
Investigative Report Exposes Forced Evictions and Fraudulent Claims at Chinese CDM Hydropower Project A field visit by Germany's GEO Magazine finds that the Taijiang Yanzhai Hydropower Project located in Guizhou province, China, does not deserve to receive carbon credits through the UN's Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). GEO Magazine found that the project does not result in real greenhouse gas emission reductions and also violates the rights of the local population. Local dam-affected farmers assert that they were forcibly evicted from their homes. The Project Design Document (PDD)
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 informat
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
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 trage
Protecting rivers and defending the rights of the communities that depend on them.
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