Monday, October 26, 2015

Methane Belching Hydro

Reservoirs and hydropower are often thought of as climate friendly because they don’t burn fossil fuels to produce electricity. But what if reservoirs that store water and produce electricity were among some of the world’s largest contributors of greenhouse gas emissions? 
Scientists are searching for answers to that question, as they study how much methane is emitted into the atmosphere from man-made reservoirs built for hydropower and other purposes. Until recently, it was believed that about 20 percent of all man-made methane emissions come from the surface of reservoirs. 
New research suggests that figure may be much higher than 20 percent, but it’s unclear how much higher because too little data is available to estimate. Methane is about 35 times as potent a greenhouse gas as carbon dioxide over the span of a century.

Read it here:

The world is complex.  Everything you do to the environment sets off a cascade of unintended consequences.  When you create big pools of water, some plants live and other plants die.  When you change the course of rivers, some species will thrive, others will suffer.  When you dam a river, you create the circumstances where silt will collect.

When you change the visible environment, you change the invisible environment.
You can either refuse to do anything, and suffer the consequences or you can do, learn, and understand you'll need to respond to the unintended consequences.

Global warming is probably a reality.  It probably will not bring the apocalypse.  Acting as if we can live in a technologically advanced world without having an impact on the world is a fantasy born of naivety and ideology.

Best we begin to discuss the achievable: responding to the changes we can expect and building the infrastructure which improves economic and social flexibility to respond to what we can not predict. 

No comments:

Post a Comment