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Peter Bosshard
Peter Bosshard is the policy director of International Rivers. He has worked to strengthen environmental standards around the world for more than 20 years, and regularly comments on global environmental affairs. "If you are interested in environmental public policy on a global scale, Peter Bosshard’s blog is the way to go,” the Policy Police website suggests.

Peter Bosshard is a native of Switzerland, a resident of the US, a son-in-law of China and citizen of the world. He tweets at

Entries by Peter Bosshard

12 Dams That Changed the World

(0) Comments | Posted January 12, 2015 | 1:07 PM

Dams illustrate the brilliance and arrogance of human ingenuity. They generate one sixth of the world's electricity and irrigate one seventh of our food crops. They have flooded land areas the size of California, displaced a population the...

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Greed and Resistance in Sarawak's Rainforest

(3) Comments | Posted December 18, 2014 | 3:09 PM

2014-12-18-Sarawakreservoir.jpegSarawak, the Malaysian province on the island of Borneo, has long been one of the six world regions with the highest biodiversity. An average hectare of Sarawak rainforest contains more tree species than all of Europe. The local Penan communities have names for more...

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US Congress Sets Strict Limits on Global Dam Funding

(0) Comments | Posted December 10, 2014 | 8:51 PM

2014-12-11-SardarSarovarDamWikimediacommons.jpgAgainst all evidence of environmental destruction, widespread impoverishment and cost overruns, the World Bank is once again embracing mega-dams. In FY 2014, the Bank put more than half of its power sector lending into large hydropower projects. The US Congress - still...

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The Hidden Hand Behind 'Natural' Disasters

(1) Comments | Posted December 8, 2014 | 5:09 PM

Photo credit Fred Pearce

Floods and droughts in many parts of the world are getting ever more frequent and intense. Scientists have long warned that a changing climate is making such weather events more extreme. What is often neglected in the public debate is...

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A Health Check-up for Our Environment -- Ignored at Our Own Risk

(1) Comments | Posted November 11, 2014 | 1:29 PM

In the 1950s, thousands of Baiji river dolphins (pictured) plied the waters of the Yangtze, Asia's mightiest river. The Chinese river dolphin had evolved over 20 millions of years, and was revered as the goddess of the Yangtze. By 1994, fewer than 100 individuals remained, and by 2006, the dolphin...

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No Need to Sacrifice the Planet's Arteries to Save Her Lungs

(0) Comments | Posted September 22, 2014 | 8:47 PM

2014-09-22-GCFPeoplesClimateMarch.jpgFrom the flood-prone coastline of Bangladesh to East Africa's drought-stricken farm lands, climate change hits people hardest who have least contributed to it. World governments have agreed to mobilize $100 billion a year for climate mitigation and adaptation projects by 2020, most directly through...

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Government Audit Finds Hydropower Aid Doesn't Benefit the Poor

(1) Comments | Posted July 8, 2014 | 3:24 PM


No other industrialized country relies on hydropower for its own power generation as much as Norway. Norwegian companies build hydropower dams around the world, including controversial projects like the Theun Hinboun Dam in Laos. Norwegian development aid actively supports the interests...

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10 Things You Should Know About Dams

(0) Comments | Posted May 27, 2014 | 5:49 PM


1. 50,000 Large Dams Are Clogging the World's Rivers:

About 50,000 dams with a height of 15 meters or more and millions of smaller dams have been built on the world's rivers. Some of them date back centuries, but most were...

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Life-Giving Deltas Starved by Dams

(4) Comments | Posted May 23, 2014 | 2:58 PM

Co-authored with Parineeta Dandikar, associate coordinator of the South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP)

The deltas of great rivers such as the Nile, Mekong, Irrawaddy, Ganges and Brahmaputra belong to the world's most important rice bowls and population centers. Since...

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China Rivers at the Brink of Collapse

(1) Comments | Posted March 26, 2014 | 12:42 PM


China's rulers have traditionally derived their legitimacy from controlling water. The country ranks only sixth in terms of annual river runoff, but counts half the planet's large dams within its borders. A new report warns that dam building has brought China's...

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Large Dams Are Uneconomic, Scientific Study Finds

(0) Comments | Posted March 10, 2014 | 3:02 PM


"We find that even before accounting for negative impacts on human society and environment, the actual construction costs of large dams are too high to yield a positive return," a new report states. "Large dams also take inordinately...

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World Bank Hands Africa's Biggest Dam Project Over to the Private Sector

(0) Comments | Posted February 11, 2014 | 1:49 PM


The Inga 3 Dam on the Congo River, which has incited the dreams of dam builders and investors for three decades, was finally scheduled to receive its first grant from the World Bank on February 10. Last week the Bank added...

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Congress Takes Landmark Decision for Rivers and Rights

(0) Comments | Posted January 17, 2014 | 4:35 PM


Dams have turned freshwater into the ecosystem most threatened by species extinction, displaced 80 million people and impoverished many more. Even so, the World Bank is eager to re-engage in large dam projects around the world, and other financiers are following in its...

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A New Approach to the Global Power Crisis

(1) Comments | Posted December 12, 2013 | 3:10 PM


As you read this, a power outage is affecting much of Africa and South Asia. After hundreds of billions of aid dollars have been spent on energy projects, 1.4 billion people continue to live in a state of permanent blackout. Development finance has...

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Protecting Rivers, Reducing Climate Vulnerability

(1) Comments | Posted November 2, 2013 | 5:39 PM


The mountain valleys of the North Indian state of Uttarakhand have been heavily developed with hydropower projects, tourism resorts and other infrastructure. When a cloudburst hit the state in June 2013, the choked rivers were unable to cope with the ravaging...

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Why the World Bank Continues to Fund Environmental Destruction

(0) Comments | Posted October 9, 2013 | 12:44 PM

2013-10-07-ForeclosingtheFuture.jpgWith 1,800 ongoing projects and more than $30 billion in annual disbursements, the World Bank is the world's most powerful development institution. More than anything, the lender prides itself in undertaking the most complex, difficult initiatives in the developing world.

Building a pipeline...

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How the World Bank Puts Self-interest Before Development

(0) Comments | Posted August 8, 2013 | 4:16 PM

Decentralized renewable energy projects are highly effective at reducing energy poverty. Energy conservation and efficiency improvements are the cheapest way to close the gap between energy demand and supply. Too bad such measures don't fit the business model of the World Bank, the world's most important energy financier.

Under a...

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Grand Inga -- The World Bank's Latest Silver Bullet for Africa

(1) Comments | Posted May 21, 2013 | 4:10 PM

When World Bank President Jim Kim visits the Democratic Republic of Congo this week, he will find a country rich in natural resources but blighted by a lack of basic services. The world's poorest country has not only been ravaged by civil wars, but by decades of grandiose...

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China's Superbank

(0) Comments | Posted April 11, 2013 | 5:41 PM

Wikimedia Commons

Li Liguan lives at the outskirts of Loudi city in Hunan province. A former farmer, he was uprooted from his land to make way for a stadium. Now he tries to benefit from the construction boom by hauling bricks and renting out...

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How the World Bank Undermines Its Own Development Goals

(0) Comments | Posted March 20, 2013 | 6:12 PM

2013-03-18-karibapoverty.jpg The World Bank's International Development Association (IDA) is the most important source of development finance for the world's poorest countries. A new round of finance is supposed to support goals such as inclusive growth, gender equity, and climate...

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