Costa Rica Coffee Guide

To Dam… Or Not to Dam?

December 7, 2007

Once considered the cleanest, most efficient form of renewable energy, dams are falling from grace.

The findings of the World Commission on Dams (dams.org), an independent, international, workgroup that addressed issues with large dams, concluded that “the ecosystem impacts are more negative than positive, and they have led, in many cases, to significant and irreversible loss of species and ecosystems.”

Effects to fish and invertebrate populations in rivers, as well as the surrounding wildlife and vegetation, are well documented.

Recent studies conducted by Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE), also warn that the world’s large dams emit 104 million metric tons of methane annually – 23% of the world’s human-induced methane emission total, driven mostly by decaying organic material beneath impoundments.

Methane is a much more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, say scientists.

The same study found that large hydropower reservoirs in the tropics may have a higher global warming impact per kilowatt hour than the burning of fossil fuels, including coal.

Others believe these claims to be exaggerated by the anti-dam contingent.

The Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) says hydropower, while not perfect, remains the most viable option, in terms of economics and environment.

“Faced with increasingly unpredictable weather and growing demand for energy, the best option we have is to build impoundments that store water, so that we can control and regulate generation as we see fit,” said ICE’s Roberto’s Jiménez.

“Otherwise, we’ll be forced to burn fossil fuels.”

 

You may be interested

Costa Rica closes embassy in Venezuela as cost-cutting measure
Costa Rica
1620 views
Costa Rica
1620 views

Costa Rica closes embassy in Venezuela as cost-cutting measure

AFP - October 1, 2020

Costa Rica on Wednesday announced the closure of the country's embassy and consulate general in Caracas, effective Thursday, as part…

Ports and highways blocked in rejection of Costa Rica’s IMF proposal
Costa Rica
21729 views
Costa Rica
21729 views

Ports and highways blocked in rejection of Costa Rica’s IMF proposal

The Tico Times - October 1, 2020

Protesters blocked roads and ports in different parts of Costa Rica on Wednesday in a protest against planned negotiations with…

Costa Rica coronavirus updates for Wednesday, September 30
Costa Rica
5593 views
Costa Rica
5593 views

Costa Rica coronavirus updates for Wednesday, September 30

Alejandro Zúñiga - September 30, 2020

Costa Rica announced 24 new coronavirus-related deaths over the last day for a total of 904, according to official data…