Last week, China’s Premier Li Keqiang announced that China would build more dams as part of its 12th Five Year Plan. His speech reinstated China’s commitment to unleashing the biggest dam building sprees in history.
A coalition of 19 Chinese NGOs have released a new report titled China’s Last Rivers Report urging the Chinese government to recognize the value of healthy rivers. Environmentalists fear that the Chinese government has been hoodwinked by its own dam building industry into expensive and large mega projects which is likely to do little to service China’s growing energy appetite.
The report writers, which include Friend’s of Nature’s Li Bo, have concluded that hydropower is not the answer to China’s carbon emission reductions goals and threaten China’s ecological resilience. The government’s commitment to environmental protection currently does little to protect China’s remaining free flowing rivers, such that ecological redlines for rivers must be established and river protection legislation considered as soon as possible. Without such measures, the report argues that China’s south-west rivers – where the headwaters of the mighty Mekong, Brahmaputra, Salween and Yangtze Rivers flow – are destined for a viscous cycle of energy intensive and high polluting industries such as mies and petrochemical plants. Furthermore, questions over reservoir induced seismicity in the dam building hot spot of South–west rivers and social risks of resettling hundreds of thousands of ethnic minorities remains unaddressed.
China’s Rivers Report can be found accessed with an English translation of the executive summary atwww.chinariversreport.org.
For interviews and private briefings, please email@example.com. The report’s writers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org (Li Bo) email@example.com (Yao Songqiao)