The climate crisis is upon us. How we respond to it will shape the future of the planet and every species upon it. For too long our rivers and watersheds have been treated as habitats to be exploited. To achieve climate justice, we must change the practices that destroy our freshwater systems.
It is essential, in these pivotal years, that we put justice at the center of the coming energy transformation. Those who have contributed the least to today’s crisis, are disproportionately affected by it. And we believe the burdens and benefits of our response to climate change must be shared equitably and fairly.
Our Work in the Movement for Climate Justice
We promote sustainable energy that does not sacrifice the environment, the climate, or basic human rights. We challenge false solutions such as megadams and carbon trading schemes that undermine indigenous sovereignty while failing to genuinely rein in emissions. We undertake independent research to illuminate the path to the Paris Accord’s implementation and a fair and just energy transition
Permanently protecting rivers will help solve the climate crisis. Rivers are regulators of the earth’s carbon cycle. Their damming and diversion alternately drowns and starves carbon sinks. On the other hand, free-flowing rivers are one of the world’s strongest, natural defense mechanisms against climate catastrophe. Free-flowing rivers help communities build resilience by recharging groundwater, nourishing productive deltas and farmland, and allowing migratory fish populations to thrive.
Fighting False Solutions
We expose the truth about hydropower’s dismal performance in an era of climate change and campaign to prevent scarce climate dollars from financing destructive dams in the name of reducing carbon emissions. Instead, we propose a socially-just energy revolution to cut the use of fossil fuels, deliver modern energy to those who need it most, and preserve our life-giving rivers. Learn more.
In the 21st century, swift advances in renewable technologies are rendering coal and hydropower too expensive, too destructive and too dirty to pursue. At International Rivers we advocate for robust and consultative energy planning and we believe that integrated resource planning (IRP) is a key tool to chart a path forward. Learn more.
Across the regions, we work with river communities to identify energy needs and find ways to meet them without harming their lives, livelihoods, rivers, or the environment. We offer communities crucial information, exposing hydropower’s true costs, providing the latest research and education on alternatives and enabling knowledge-sharing across river basins and regions. Learn more.
- Strategic Environmental Assessment of the Myanmar Hydropower Sector: Discussion Brief (2018)
- Catalyzing a Renewable Energy Transformation (2018)
- Renewable Riches: How Wind and Solar Can Power DRC and South Africa (2017)
- Designing Low Carbon Electricity Futures for African and Other Developing Countries (2015)
- An Introduction to Integrated Resources Planning (2013)
- The World Bank and Dams Part 4: Behind the Times on Renewable Energy (2016)
- Greater Mekong Subregion Energy Investments: Concerns and Recommendations (2015) (Also available in Vietnamese, Thai, or Khmer)
- Futuro de la Energía en Perú: Estrategias Energéticas Sostenibles (2016)
- Dirty Energy – Out of the Green Climate Fund (2015)
- Rip-Offsets: The Failure of the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (2008)
- Press Release | COP27: Groups warn of severe climate and human rights risk of new hydropower dams and schemesDams and hydropower schemes create major loss and damage, including producing significant amounts of methane, biodiversity loss, and community displacement. In a warming world, droughts and flooding make hydropower an…
- Guinea is at a crossroads in meeting its energy needs and respecting rightsNew study shows solar alternatives would cost less and outperform the proposed Koukoutamba Dam in Guinea by Josh Klemm & Ibrahima Kalil Bamba During a trip to Guinea last month,…
- Brazil’s Legislative Assembly approves a law draft that prohibits the construction of hydroelectric dams on the Cuiabá RiverYesterday, the Legislative Assembly of the State of Mato Grosso in Brazil approved the law draft that prohibits the construction of dams along the entire length of the Cuiabá River….