Our French member organisation ‘Les Amis de la Terre’ has started a campaign against the financing of harmful large dams. Here is why:
Large dams are presented by their advocates as “green” projects for the production of “renewable energy”. The reality, however, paints a different picture. Their construction creates enormous reservoirs of water that submerge cultivated land and forests, naturally rich in organic compounds. The decomposition of these compounds in the reservoir frees large quantities of greenhouse gases (in particular methane and nitrous oxide, respectively 25 and 300 times more powerful than CO2). Far from assisting in the battle against climate change, the construction of large dams accelerates it.
Large dams also cause major disturbances to the functioning of water currents and ecosystems. They contribute to the disappearance of many species of animal and plant life. For numerous communities who depend on their environment to live, the impact is tremendous: decreases in fertile land and fish reserves, the deterioration of water quality, and deforestation.
Furthermore, the retention of water creates a landscape vulnerable to diseases such as dengue fever and malaria. All of this combined considerably reduces the possibility of sustaining local populations.
Since the year 2000, after a period of decline, both public and private investors have shown a rekindled interest in large hydroelectric dams. One of them is the European Investment Bank (EIB). Since 2003, the bank has lent close to EUR 900 million to hydroelectric power plants under the guise of financing clean and sustainable energy.
Read more about the harmful impacts of large dams in our leaflet and help us fighting large dams by signing the on line petition that Les Amis de la Terre has launched to ask the EIB to stop the financing of large dams.