Greenhouse gas emissions of hydropower in the Mekong River Basin can exceed those of fossil fuel energy sources

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04 March 2018 Aalto University

Greenhouse gas emissions of hydropower in the Mekong River Basin can exceed those of fossil fuel energy sources

Hydropower is commonly considered as a clean energy source to fuel Southeast Asian economic growth. Recent study published in Environmental Research Letters finds that hydropower in the Mekong River Basin, largest river in Southeast Asia, might not always be climate friendly. The median greenhouse gas (GHG) emission of hydropower was estimated to be 26 kg CO2e/MWh over 100-year lifetime, which is within the range of other renewable energy sources (<190 kg CO2e/MWh). The variation between the individual hydropower projects was, however, large: nearly 20% of the hydropower reservoirs had higher emissions than other renewable energy sources and in several cases the emissions equalled those from fossil fuel energy sources (>380 kg CO2e/MWh). The study concludes that hydropower in the Mekong cannot be considered categorically as a clean energy source; instead, the emissions should be evaluated case-by-case together with other social and environmental impacts. Continue reading “Greenhouse gas emissions of hydropower in the Mekong River Basin can exceed those of fossil fuel energy sources”

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The Mekong river under THREAT

Milton Osborne

Even if no dams are built on the mainstream below China, the cascade to which it is committed will ultimately have serious effects on the functioning of the Mekong once the dams are used to control the river’s flow. This will be the case because the cascade will:

• alter the hydrology of the river and so the current ‘flood pulse’, the regular rise and fall of the river on an annual basis which plays an essential part in the timing of spawning and the migration pattern. This will be particularly important in relation to the Tonle Sap in Cambodia, but will have an effect throughout the river’s course;

• block the flow of sediment down the river which plays a vital part both in depositing nutrients on the agricultural regions flooded by the river and also as a trigger for fish migration — at present well over 50% of the river’s sediment comes from China;

• at least initially cause problems by restricting the amount of flooding that takes place most importantly in Cambodia and Vietnam; and

• lead to the erosion of river banks.

So China’s dam-building plans are worrying enough, but the proposed new mainstream dams would pose even more serious concerns. Those built at sites higher upstream would cause the least damage to fish stocks, but if, as currently seems possible, the most likely dams to be built would be at Don Sahong and Sambor the costs to fish stocks could be very serious. This is because unanimous expert opinion judges that there are no ways to mitigate the blocking of fish migration that would occur if these dams are constructed. None of the suggested possible forms of mitigation — fish ladders, fish lifts, and alternative fish-passages — are feasible for the species of fish in the Mekong and the very large biomass that is involved in their migratory pattern. Fish ladders were tried and failed at the Pak Mun dam on one of the Mekong’s tributaries in Thailand in the 1990s. Continue reading “The Mekong river under THREAT”

Power stacked against Southeast Asia’s poor as China dams Mekong

channelnewsasia

Communities along the mighty Mekong blame China for their shrinking catches. (Photo: AFP/TANG CHHIN SOTHY)

Read more at https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asiapacific/power-stacked-against-southeast-asia-s-poor-as-china-dams-mekong-9841686

KANDAL, Cambodia: Cambodian fisherman Sles Hiet lives at the mercy of the Mekong: A massive river that feeds tens of millions but is under threat from the Chinese dams cementing Beijing’s physical – and diplomatic – control over its Southeast Asian neighbours.

The 32-year-old, whose ethnic Cham Muslim community live on rickety house boats that bob along a river bend in Kandal province, says the size of his daily catch has been shrinking by the year. Continue reading “Power stacked against Southeast Asia’s poor as China dams Mekong”

Five things to know about the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation summit

TĐH: We don’t hear discussion on the VNese media about this China-pushed five-year development plan at all. I wonder if Vietnam will have a public discussion about this plan, or whoever attending the LMC summit will just simply approve the plan on behalf of Vietnam?

 

scmp: Five-year development plan, including construction of hydropower dams, is expected to top agenda at Mekong River nations’ conference in Cambodia

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 09 January, 2018, 8:03am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 09 January, 2018, 2:57pm

When China and the leaders of nations along the Mekong River meet on Wednesday at the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation summit in Cambodia, a top item will be mapping out a five-year development plan that would include building hydropower dams and other projects for the region – pointing to its importance in China’s ambitious belt and road infrastructure plan.

But while the cooperation mechanism was created to help ease tension over development projects, environmentalists remain unsatisfied.

Concern is growing that the potential for causing ecological damage will make the Mekong a flashpoint for China and Southeast Asia’s territorial disputes – effectively creating a new South China Sea.

Amid the backdrop of the river’s importance in connecting Europe through Southeast Asia and beyond in the grand infrastructure programme launched by President Xi Jinping, Chinese delegation leader Premier Li Keqiang will be looking to bolster China’s influence in the Mekong region as he faces his counterparts from Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Laos and Myanmar.

Here are five key things to know about the summit and the significance of the Mekong River:

1. The river’s significance for China and Southeast Asia

Continue reading “Five things to know about the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation summit”

Mekong Delta faces increased risk of landslides as sediment loss continues

Last update 07:40 | 17/05/2017

VietNamNet Bridge – Every year, 55 million tons of sediment is lost from the rivers in Mekong Delta, 90 percent of which is sand. 

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Nguyen Huu Thien, an independent expert, said the Mekong Delta has been taking shape for the last 6,000 years thanks to alluvial accretion. But the volume of sediment in the river and canal system has decreased gradually, leading to an increased risk of landslides.

The coastal provinces in the western part of the southern region are also directly affected by the change.

The alluvium from river mouths to the sea has the function of protecting the coast, easing the impact from waves hitting the coast. When there is not enough silt, the sea water will cause erosion. Continue reading “Mekong Delta faces increased risk of landslides as sediment loss continues”

Proposed dam to poses more threat to Vietnam’s Mekong Delta: conference

TUOI TRE NEWS

Updated : 05/13/2017 14:00 GMT + 7

The environment and lives of dozens of millions of people living in the Lower Mekong Basin are being threatened as the Mekong River is expected to see yet another hydropower dam construction, experts said at an international conference on Friday.

Experts all express concerns over the Laos-proposed Pak Beng dam, the latest to be built on the Mekong River, as they convened for a consultation process held by the Vietnam Mekong River Commission in the southern Vietnamese city of Can Tho. Continue reading “Proposed dam to poses more threat to Vietnam’s Mekong Delta: conference”