Dam reservoirs emit greenhouse gases, especially in the tropics. Dam reservoirs are a globally significant source of one of the most potent gases, methane. Meanwhile, free-flowing rivers play a crucial role in helping trap carbon.
Hundreds of large dams are proposed in areas where climate change could bring great hydrological uncertainty. While there is much uncertainty in climate science, one thing is clear: it's the wrong climate for damming rivers.
First, big dams are at huge risk from climate change's impacts on river flows. Equally important, healthy rivers are also key to successful climate adaptation, especially for the world's poorest, who are also at greatest risk of climate change. Finally, large reservoirs can be significant sources of greenhouse gases.
International Rivers is working to raise capacity on this critical issue globally and in dam-building regions, and promoting an energy revolution that allows us to dramatically cut our use of fossil fuels, while also preserving life-giving water resources.
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