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No climate finance for hydropower: ‘Rivers for Climate’ declaration

With less than 40 days to go before COP26, 300 organizations from 69 countries have urged governments and world leaders not to use climate finance for “so-called sustainable hydroelectric power plants” as part of their global statement ‘Rivers for Climate’.

COP26, ie the Conference of Parties that meets annually to hold negotiations on climate change, will take place in Glasgow in the UK from 31 October and symbolically the activists, environmentalists and academics gathered in Glasgow on Tuesday to put forward their demands.

Representing the views of civil society, grassroots movements, indigenous peoples’ organizations, scientists and conservationists, the statement called for the proliferation plans spread under the false pretense of sustainability, a release from International Rivers, a nonprofit organization working for river conservation. , said.

The main requirements are: a ban on funds committed under the Paris Agreement for the construction of new hydropower dams; Countries to remove new hydropower dams from their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs); A just and sustainable energy transition and economic recovery in which people and ecosystems and investments are centered to rapidly scale truly renewable energy sources capable of delivering the needed access to energy while moving away from destructive fossil fuels and hydroelectric dams .

All countries declare their NDCs – national-level actions to combat climate change – ahead of the COP and negotiate carbon space, even when they will all come together to regulate emissions to prevent global temperatures from rising 1.5 degrees in compared to the pre-industrial era.

“Hydropower is not a clean energy. We are at an unprecedented time in history, facing the triple threat of a runaway climate crisis, massive biodiversity loss and a global pandemic,” said Chris Wilke, Global Advocacy Manager for Waterkeeper Alliance.

Boosting and expanding hydroelectric plant construction would not only fail to prevent catastrophic climate change, but would also exacerbate the climate crisis by exploding methane emissions and diverting scarce climate funds away from meaningful energy and water solutions in a world already grappling with dire impacts. of climate change, the release said.

This appeal to world leaders is based on growing scientific and social evidence of the dangers associated with hydropower dams and the risks of pursuing investments in dams to mitigate climate change.

The Global Declaration states that: Free-flowing rivers, wetlands and natural lakes are of immense value to the well-being of the ecosystems they sustain, humanity and the survival of the planet; Rivers play a vital role in sequestering carbon and building climate resilience, unlike hydropower dams which prevent rivers from fulfilling these critical functions. “In fact, rivers help regulate an increasingly volatile global carbon cycle by taking an estimated 200 million tons of carbon from the air each year,” the release said.

According to the Global Declaration, hydropower dams are vulnerable to climate change and will be further affected by changing hydrology: “Our climate and our hydrological cycles are changing. And hydropower dams are particularly unsuited to adapting to these changes. Unprecedented flooding, landslides, and others.” such disasters exacerbated by climate change are already threatening the safety of dams around the world, with more extreme weather events increasing the risk of catastrophic dam collapses,” it said.

One of those who endorsed the Global Declaration from India is Himanshu Thakkar of the South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People. “Sustainable hydropower as a solution to climate change is a myth,” Thakkar said, virtually addressing the press conference, adding: “Hydropower projects are huge, negatively impacted by climate change and also act as power multipliers for the effects, driving the climate crisis, with especially for the huge millions of people who depend on rivers, forests and floodplains for their food and livelihoods.”

Building and operating new hydropower projects in areas such as the Himalayas and South Asia greatly exacerbate disaster potential and vulnerabilities, destroying resilience options for communities dependent on rivers and mountains. “Any assertion to the contrary by the hydropower industry will fail independent scrutiny, as evidenced by the work of the World Commission on Dams,” he said.

“The call from some industry groups to grow global hydropower by 60 percent likely means that all remaining free-flowing rivers must be dammed, which would be a huge blow to global freshwater biodiversity,” said Eugene Simonov of Rivers without Boundaries.

–IANS

level / dpb

(Only the headline and image of this report may have been reworked by Business Standard staff; the rest of the content was automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)

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