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The resource curse comes to Mozambique

Hidden foreign aid to an incompetent and dishonest government is set to rob Mozambique of its gas treasure as no one can explain what happened to billions of dollars the country borrowed for a series of price-inflated, murky projects. The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) reports.

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Will NJ consumers be hit with zero-emission surcharge for nuclear?

It may not have been able to compete with fossil fuels but global warming has given nuclear power an edge: on more subsidies. The example of New Jersey shows how desperation on the global warming front is jeopardizing decision-making and ignoring the penalties and perils of “clean energy’s” new good guy.

Keep an eye on this

A USD80-million research project at India’s Koyna dam site will study reservoir-triggered earthquakes (aka reservoir-induced seismicity) and the causes behind them. Dam activity at Koyna was blamed for a powerful earthquake in 1967 that destroyed the village of Koynanagar in western India’s Maharashtra state, left 180 people dead, 1,500 injured, thousands homeless and power cut off to Bombay.

Some countries really are more corrupt than others

According to this fantastic commentary on corruption by Alina Mungiu-Pippidi for Foreign Policy, “the rule of law and control of corruption are nearly synonymous”. Without rule of law, she says, attempts to reign in corruption through legal mechanisms will only be captured by the corrupt system in place. The way forward? The defeat of corruption, she says, is not achieved “by importing legal silver bullets from abroad,” it is a political process enabled “through a mix of policies advanced by domestic advocates”. Read on!

An alternate past/future for Mekong River dams under the UN Watercourses Convention

This three-part article by international water law consultant Rémy Kinna looks at dams in the Mekong. Kinna examines the existing legal framework for regulating dam development in the region and how its legal gaps and ambiguities have led to ongoing disputes (particularly in regard to the Xayaburi Dam in Laos), and how to improve dispute resolution and strengthen water governance across the Mekong River mainstream and its tributaries under the UN Watercourses Convention.

Mekong Delta loses half of silt to upstream dams: scientists

A soft shield of silt that took over 6,000 years to form and which protects the ‘rice bowl’ of Vietnam against intrusion from seawater, erosion and declining groundwater levels has been seriously stripped by Chinese dams on the Mekong River, say experts. Half of the river’s essential sediment is now trapped upstream and the delta may be in jeopardy of disappearing altogether. Thanh Nien News reports.

Why linking rivers won’t work

India’s proposed Interlinking of Rivers (ILR) project would entail the creation of 3,000 large dams and “environmental tinkering on an epic scale”. Proponents say ILR is the “only way forward” for a country facing a projected population of 1.6 billion in 2050. Detractors say “there’s simply no evidence to justify what the government wants to attempt”.

The myth of sustainable hydropower

2016 will be a decisive year for hydropower projects on the mainstream Mekong. Southeast-Asia based journalist, Tom Fawthrop, looks at the notion of ‘nice dams’ that supposedly don’t inflict too much damage on their surrounding environments and their opposite reality: the hidden costs of hydropower and the irreversible destruction of unique ecosystems.