As the climate crisis accelerates, the hydropower industry is attempting to recast large dams as a climate-friendly energy source. Nothing could be further from the truth.

First, dam reservoirs (particularly in the tropics) are a globally significant source of methane, one of the world’s most potent greenhouse gases. Free-flowing rivers, on the other hand, play a crucial role in trapping carbon.

Second, dams are uniquely vulnerable to floods and droughts – which are only increasing in frequency and severity with climate change – raising the risk of dam failures during floods and power outages when reservoirs run dry.

Third, big dam reservoirs flood forests and agricultural land and destroy fisheries, while leaving downstream wetlands and forests dry. These impacts make it harder for indigenous and rural peoples, and the ecosystems they depend on, to adapt to climate change. 

Our Work to Fight False Climate 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.

International Rivers and Friends of the Earth International have teamed up to create a Google Earth 3-D tour and video narrated by Nigerian activist Nnimmo Bassey, winner of the prestigious Right Livelihood Award. 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.

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