A landmark Global declaration titled “RIVERS FOR CLIMATE” was launched on Sept 21, 2021, endorsed already by 300 organizations from 69 countries calling on governments and leaders attending COP26 (Conference of Parties meeting 26) to protect river ecosystems and stop using scarce climate funds to finance false climate solutions such as hydropower.
This call to world leaders is based on growing scientific and social impact evidence of the dangers associated with hydropower dams and the risks of pursuing investment in dams for climate change mitigation.
In the Global Declaration the groups hold that: –
- Free-flowing rivers, wetlands, and natural lakes have immense value for the welfare of the ecosystems they sustain, humankind, and survival on the planet.
- Rivers play a vital role in sequestering carbon and building climate resiliency, yet hydropower dams prevent rivers from serving these critical functions.
- Hydropower dams are vulnerable to climate change and will be further impacted by changing hydrology.
Hydropower reservoirs are a significant contributor to the climate crisis, primarily through emitting vast quantities of methane, a greenhouse gas 86 times more potent in the near term than carbon dioxide.
Dam reservoirs are estimated to emit 1 billion tons of greenhouse gases per year, and scientists have found in some cases that dam reservoirs can emit more greenhouse gases than coal-fired power plants.
Sustainable Hydro as a solution to climate change is a myth.
Experience on ground show that hydropower projects act as force multiplier for the climate change impacts, thus worsening the climate crisis. Particularly for the vast millions of people who depend on the rivers, forests, biodiversity and floodplains for their food and livelihood security.
This is evident from accelerated frequency, intensity and spread of the numerous Himalayan disasters in South Asia over the last decade or so.
Reference- Business Standard, Mercom India, Global declaration titled “RIVERS FOR CLIMATE”, The Guardian