Environmentalists celebrate as Beijing appears to abandon plans to build mega dams on its Grand Canyon of the East. Although dam-building isn’t off the table in other parts of China, activists say Beijing is deterred in this case by growing concern for the environment, the wisdom of dam construction in areas of high seismicity and – most importantly – the economics of large-scale dams that no longer make financial sense in a slowing Chinese economy, in combination with the scale of difficulty in transmitting electricity from remote regions to the rest of the country.
Beijing played the Paris climate agreement for money and kudos. But no country that ratified the agreement was in it to win the war on global warming, says Patricia Adams, executive director of Probe International, in this radio interview with the Australian current affairs program, Counterpoint.
China’s dam-building spree on the Tibetan Plateau has given Beijing immense leverage as controller of the region’s “blue gold” and with that power comes responsibility. For starters, to permit an open assessment of the impacts of these projects – particularly given the region’s vulnerability to seismic risk – and to share those findings with neighboring countries and the people most directly affected by dam construction upheaval.
The Three Gorges Dam’s flood control performance continues to generate scrutiny. Jonathan Green for The Market Mogul asks how effective has the dam been period.
More on the Three Gorges Dam’s flood control capabilities and its performance in one of the wettest seasons for China since the record-breaking El Niño event of 1997-98. In this report, The Economist concludes the country’s weakened river pulse is “in danger not only from floods but from its flood controls.”
Because the project’s flood control capacity doesn’t work.
Another deadly landslide at a hydropower construction site in Fujian, south-east China, highlights the growing risks of dam building in mountainous regions of Asia. Chinadialogue.net reports.
As China continues to embrace a new era of hydropower expansion, demand for dam inspection has outpaced the country’s supply of inspectors, ramping up safety fears for thousands of small- and medium-sized dams in China’s rural areas that have been “ignored”, reports Ecns.cn.
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.
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.
Beijing’s revisionist approach to the status quo in Southeast Asia is nowhere more evident than its “land grab” in the South China Sea and “water grab” in the upper reaches of the Mekong River, says renowned Thai commentator Thitinan Pongsudhirak.
The need for China to enter into institutionalized water-sharing arrangements with its downstream neighbours is key to building water cooperation and the protection of critical ecosystems but its reluctance to do so, says geostrategist and author Brahma Chellaney, is to secure its monetary and political power as the controller of Asia’s major waters.
Raised by the Communist party elite, Dai Qing has since become one of China’s most critical female voices. Al Jazeera’s spotlight on Probe International Fellow, Dai Qing.
Beijing’s Lhasa River Project comes under fire from high-profile Chinese geologist and environmentalist, Fan Xiao.
Journalist Sharron Lovell’s gallery of striking images portray the losing end of China’s massive water transfer scheme to alleviate some by taking from others.