The myth of green hydropower

Image: © Michel Roggo

By |2023-09-08T11:04:06+00:00March 13th, 2023|Dams, Freshwater, Hydropower, Threats|Comments Off on The myth of green hydropower

Large dams are disastrous for freshwater ecosystems. From preventing salmon migrations, to flooding niche river ecosystems, to blocking nutrient-rich sediment from getting downstream, hydropower is a catastrophe for wildlife. Yet currently, hydropower supplies more than half of our renewable energy. Isn’t cutting our dependence on fossil fuels worth the biodiversity cost of new dams?

The problem with that line of thinking is right there in the question. Dwindling biodiversity and rising emissions are not two separate issues: they are inextricably linked. The ecosystem degradation caused by large hydropower doesn’t just accelerate the global decline in freshwater biodiversity. It also displaces communities, undermines sustainable development, and contributes to climate change.