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hp blogger Peter Bosshard's Comments

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Kenyan Dam Fighter to Receive Goldman Prize

Kenyan Dam Fighter to Receive Goldman Prize

Commented Apr 17, 2012 at 17:06:37 in Green

“200,000 people depend on the Omo River in the Lower Omo Valley, and another 300,000 people depend on Lake Turkana, which is fed by the Omo River. They would all be seriously impacted by the Gibe III Dam and the water diversions for the sugar plantations that it will facilitate.”

grappler1987 on Apr 17, 2012 at 20:57:21

“Thanks for the information.”
Kenyan Dam Fighter to Receive Goldman Prize

Kenyan Dam Fighter to Receive Goldman Prize

Commented Apr 17, 2012 at 13:43:38 in Green

“Your US figures overestimate the capacity factor of hydropower and underestimate the capacity factor of solar power in Ethiopia. And again, you propose to destroy the livelihoods of 500,000 people for free. But I'll leave it at this - you're welcome to have the last word in this exchange.”
Kenyan Dam Fighter to Receive Goldman Prize

Kenyan Dam Fighter to Receive Goldman Prize

Commented Apr 17, 2012 at 00:18:19 in Green

“Even the International Energy Agency recommends that 70% of the investment needed to provide energy for all in the developing world should go to offgrid sources. Simply too expensive to expand the grid in rural areas of countries like Ethiopia. And this is before you put a price on the livelihoods of the 500,000 people that would be destroyed by the Gibe III Dam, and who don't even seem to appear in your argument.”

grappler1987 on Apr 17, 2012 at 00:46:15

“Even in 2016 as solar PV comes down in cost, it is projected to be over twice the cost of hydro. Ethiopia just can't afford it, which shouldn't be a surprise. Maybe they can use the revenues from the dams to pay for the offgrid solar PV, or maybe generous Americans can pay for it.

Cost by source: $/megawatthour in 2016
http://www.eia.gov/oiaf/aeo/electricity_generation.html

Advanced NG: 63.1
Hydro: 86.4
Conventional coal: 94.8
Wind: 97
Geothermal: 101.7
Biomass: 112.5
Nuclear: 113.9
Solar PV: 210.7
Solar Thermal: 311.8”
Kenyan Dam Fighter to Receive Goldman Prize

Kenyan Dam Fighter to Receive Goldman Prize

Commented Apr 16, 2012 at 16:57:31 in Green

“A report prepared for Christian Aid, a British aid agency, documents that Ethiopia has a vast potential of renewable energy (small hydro, wind, solar and geothermal) which has so far not been exploited. Such technologies would avoid the devastating impacts of the Gibe III Dam, and would do more to bring clean energy to the rural poor, most of whom live closer to local sources of renewable energy than to the electric grid. Check out the report, Low-Carbon Africa: Leapfrogging to a Green Future, for what really should be Plan A!”

Levar Mitchell on May 4, 2012 at 17:57:30

“Your whole argument is predicated on the false assumption that CO2 is a pollutant, when in fact it is a naturally occurring greenhouse that is vital to life on this planet. Humans, animals, volcanoes, decaying leaves, and oceans, just to name a few, release billions of metric tons of CO2 annually. Not to mention, CO2 is vital for photosynthesis in plants. As for wind, solar, and geothermal energy, they are incredibly inconsistent and/or too localized to provide sufficient energy to Ethiopia. (Ethiopia is 3 times the size of Germany). These renewables are highly subsidized even in developed economies such as Spain, Germany, and UK where they have already made green energy budget cuts. So, if they can't afford them, how do you expect developing nations to afford them? What developing nations do need is cheap abundant energy (fossil fuels as well as hydro-power) and modern infrastructure. People of your ilk seem to romanticize the "tribal" way of life, but would never leave your air conditioned condos or throw away your laptops or iPods to live that way. Your ideology is one of the most illogical I have ever seen.”

grappler1987 on Apr 16, 2012 at 18:36:46

“The reason Idaho has such cheap electricity is hydro. Can't beat hydro for now ... and for a long time to come. Solar is expensive even for Californians. Now apply what we know to Ethiopia. They can't afford "Cadillac" electricity like California can. Hydro is as good as it gets in 2012.”
huffingtonpost entry

World Bank Hydro Project Exposes Blatant Abuse of Climate Funds

Commented Oct 4, 2011 at 12:24:04 in Green

“The CDM board knows no shame and on September 29 registered the Rampur hydropower project. This means that the carbon scam can now go forward.”
huffingtonpost entry

Greenwashing Hydropower

Commented Jun 17, 2011 at 18:58:20 in Green

“Many thanks for your interesting update. Let me make the following comments:

As you say, big NGOs are involved in the process. Oxfam has bowed out, and I dare say we don’t agree with WWF, TNC and TI on the topic. Yesterday the IHA indeed invited us to raise our concerns “inside the tent.” Well, we had offered to give expert input into the protocol, along with others, but were rejected. We offered to speak on a panel at their launch event, but were rejected. We asked IHA to waive the participants fee for the two indigenous activists who attended the launch event, but they charged them the full $2000 fee. So I’m not sure how genuine their offer to open the process is.

The IHA indeed said the protocol should not replace existing standards yesterday, and we were happy to hear this. We had asked them to state this in writing many times, but they have never done so. At the same time, EU officials tell us they are being lobbied by the IHA to replace binding standards for carbon credits by the voluntary industry protocol. So we will acknowledge progress when we see it, but will keep a watchful eye on the protocol in the meantime.

I posted a slightly more updated blog at www.internationalrivers.org/en/node/6648, with images from IISD. I hope it’s ok – thanks.”
huffingtonpost entry

Don't Sacrifice the Planet's Arteries to Save Her Lungs

Commented Jun 16, 2011 at 12:11:57 in Green

“Yes indeed, we all depend on whoever pays our lunch. Well, I have no problem if you get your salary from MIT and evaluate the role of hydropower, but don't think it would be proper for you to prepare an independent evaluation of MIT. Likewise, it's not proper for the hydropower industry to prepare an IPCC report on hydropower.

And yes, natural lakes can emit methane. Emissions from reservoirs, particularly in the tropics, are higher because they flood a lot of vegetation. And a lot of GHG are emitted by degassing through the turbines, which does not occur in natural lakes. The wetlands which are often flooded by reservoirs are carbon sinks btw.

Having said all this, I am not opposed to hydropower as long as renewables don't address our full energy needs. But I don't think hydropower should receive climate funding.”

A is A on Jun 19, 2011 at 11:21:17

“Quoted from a National Post article by Terence Corcoran:
s of just before press time, desmogblog — the perpetually agitated website that can find Exxon Mobil and other corporate conspirators behind the slightest criticism of climate policy or science — had not yet acknowledged Climategate 2, namely the Greenpeace/IPCC/Pachauri/renewable energy industrial complex takeover of IPCC energy policy.

These green conspirators managed to produce an IPCC energy report claiming that 80% of the world’s energy by 2050 could come from — surprise! — renewables.

As British environmentalist Mark Lynas wrote when he learned of this latest IPCC systemic ethical meltdown, he asked readers to imagine this: “An Exxon Mobil employee … serves as a lead author on an important IPCC report looking into the future of fossil fuels. The Exxon guy and his fellow lead authors assess a whole variety of literature, but select for special treatment four particular papers — one produced by Exxon Mobil. This paper heralds great things for the future of fossil fuels, suggesting they can supply 80% of the world’s energy in 2050, and this headline is the first sentence of the ensuing IPCC press release, which is picked up and repeated uncritically the world’s media.

“Pleased, the Exxon employee issues a self-congratulatory press release boasting that his paper had been central to the IPCC effort, and urging the world’s governments to get on with opening up new areas to oil drilling for the benefit of us all.”

How will desmogblog respond? No doubt they will”

mggwa on Jun 16, 2011 at 18:21:49

“"Likewise, it's not proper for the hydropower industry to prepare an IPCC report on hydropower­."

Self-serving in other words.

"I don't think hydropower should receive climate funding. "

Agreed. Large scale hydropower is an entirely different animal whose costs and benefits are pretty well understood; with plenty of both costs and benefits.

It boils down to benefit to many (a large hydropower dam) versus benefit to few (kayakers). Deep water dams, such as on the Skagit River, do not flood much vegetation so the various carbon downsides is more than offset by the greatly enhanced flood control and irrigation that such things generally provide. I find Ross lake to be very attractive and wild.

Examples of vast, shallow reservoirs would certainly include the Aswan dam in Egypt and several in Bolivia with more on the way:

http://theglobalrealm.com/2011/05/05/bolivia-dam-spells-hope-and-fear-for-small-jungle-town/

Quite a lot of misunderstanding seems to exist -- dams are MORE suited for environments having periods of intense rain and periods of drought (monsoon).

"The climate has changed in northern Bolivia, where rainfall is heavier during a shorter rainy season, and the dry season is longer, he explained to IPS."”
How Dams Can Kick Up a Storm and Change Our Climate

How Dams Can Kick Up a Storm and Change Our Climate

Commented Jun 8, 2011 at 14:10:15 in Green

“As you say, all forms of energy generation have downsides, and if planned and built diligently, hydropower projects can be an acceptable source of energy. This doesn't make them renewable though. Greenhouse gas emissions are not the only irreversible impact of dams. As the World Commission on Dams, the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and the Global Biodiversity Outlook have documented, dams have massive impacts on freshwater ecosystems. Not least due to river fragmentation, freshwater is affected by a much higher loss of species than terrestrial and marine ecosystems. GHG emissions from hydropower are often much lower than from fossil fuels, but I don't see how projects that irreversibly deplete our biodiversity can be considered renewable.”

lbsaltzman on Jun 8, 2011 at 21:09:30

“Very well stated. Our quest for power has many negative impacts, it is good that you have pointed out the dangers of hydroelectric power.”

cempiremtn on Jun 8, 2011 at 17:49:58

“"Irreversibly deplete "OUR" biodiversity"...What an egotistical statement.
First of all, it the "EARTH'S" biodiversity, NOT mans. Man is nothing but a minor player in the scheme of things. "We", think we have so much power to change our environment, yet one small increase or decrease in the sun's output and we are done, period! The sun IS the cause of "Global Warming", and Mars warming, etc. Man has only been on Earth a short time and we have only had time to see minor changes. Mother nature created one of the biggest dams of all time, when it dammed the Grand Canyon, we better file a lawsuit so THAT will not happen again.
You name all these scientists, with their possible results of mans doing, yet I would bet they ALL have income derived by keeping MCGW in the news...Follow The Money...Al Gore,GE,Obama, Just don't STEAL mine, I work too hard for it.”
Mao, Tao and the Three Gorges Dam

Mao, Tao and the Three Gorges Dam

Commented Jun 3, 2011 at 13:20:21 in Green

“A post on the Useless Tree, a blog on Ancient Chinese Thought in American Architecture, points out that "it is not quite accurate to ascribe [the Dujiangyan water works] to Taoist philosophy. After all, Dujiangyan was built by Qin, the prototypical Legalist state. Qin was very much about subduing nature and man and anything else that stood in the way of its political domination. That Dujiangyan has worked with the forces of nature is a reflection of what was technologically possible for Qin at the time." The blogger did give me credit for the "best blog title of the week," so maybe my Taoist error can be excused as poetic license.”
Mao, Tao and the Three Gorges Dam

Mao, Tao and the Three Gorges Dam

Commented May 29, 2011 at 20:20:08 in Green

“As we had to learn in the US, it makes more sense to manage floods than to try and control them through massive dams. In the case of the Three Gorges Project, the Chinese authorities claimed that the dam could withstand a 10,000 year flood (in 2003), then toned this down to a 1000 year flood (in 2007), a 100 year flood (in 2008), and now they say we should not have "excessive expectations" in the dam's flood control capacity.

Electricity generation is certainly a major benefit. My contention is that we need to find ways to live and grow our economies within the limits of our ecosystems, for example through moving out of the most energy intensive sectors, or we will undermine the foundations of our long-term prosperity.”

Genders on May 30, 2011 at 14:35:09

“I agree. We are removing lots of little damns in the NW, because the small amounts of power are not worth the fish kill. I like the underwater turbines idea better, if it can be used without killing fish.

I have some ambivalence about big damns. They provide power and reliable water. They protect against most floods. But when they break, they are huge disasters. They also generate methane, though this can actually be collected to roughly double the energy output of the damn.

My preference is for rooftop solar, offshore wind and waste bio char bio fuels, which alone can provide all the worlds energy needs clean, forever, cheaper than nukes, land negative and carbon negative. Perhaps also some hot spot geothermal and underwater turbines.”
Mighty Mekong to Be Dammed?

Mighty Mekong to Be Dammed?

Commented Apr 4, 2011 at 11:26:56 in Green

“The Xayaburi Dam will not have a large reservoir, and has not been designed to manage floods.”
A Journey to the Hotspots of China's Environmental Crisis

A Journey to the Hotspots of China's Environmental Crisis

Commented Mar 8, 2011 at 13:47:12 in Green

“It seems Barbie is not such a fitting icon for China's consumer society after all. A few days after I wrote this blog, the Barbie shop in Shanghai closed doors. Are Chinese girls not so eager to embrace Western brands after all? Or were the Barbie outfits on display too skimpy for Chinese tastes, as a marketing analyst speculates in the Financial Times? Either way, I'm not sad to see her go.”
Energy Efficiency: Paid Lunch or False Shortcut?

Energy Efficiency: Paid Lunch or False Shortcut?

Commented Jan 1, 2011 at 01:09:51 in Green

“Professor,

I certainly support energy efficiency improvements and the other measures to optimize energy use that you describe. And I would like to think that they will do the whole trick. But the Jevons paradox tells us that we have to look beyond the direct impacts of efficiency improvements. The more we improve efficiency, the cheaper energy gets, and the more money we can spend on other things such as new gadgets, air travel and the like. Let's use energy as efficiently as we can, but I don't see how we get around making it also more expensive.”

alvdh1 on Jan 4, 2011 at 02:22:56

“The most efficient way to induce energy efficiency is time of day pricing. Time of day pricing not only encourages energy efficiency, but energy conservation as well. The only state to effectively impose time of day pricing is California after the establishment of the California ISO as a result of deregulation in the late 1990's.

California is in a unique position to offer state rebates, utility rebates and federal rebates that are the most lucrative in the country for energy efficiency. The utilities have discovered that it is more efficient reduce demand than it is to add supply as long as they can maintain their margins. In addition, adding small solar and wind to residential and business property alows both to get paid. In order for residential and business property owners to maximize their returns, they must reduce their consumption through energy efficiency and energy conservation.

What is missing in the equation is an efficient mechanism to defray the large upfront captial costs to retrofit residential, commercial, retail and industrial properties with LED lgihting, geothermal heating and cooling, super efficient aplliances and ultra efficient industrial electrical motors. The solution is a National low interest rate energy efficiency lending program to be repaid with the energy savings. Furthermore, the investment tax credit for alternative energy should be eliminated and replaced with a comparable energy efficiency investment tax credit.

To Be Continued



http://www.next10.org/pdf/report_eijc/75_01-2%20ClimateAction_Report%2004B_online.pdf”

she343 on Jan 1, 2011 at 14:17:54

“could it be we use more because more people can have what real middle class take for granted? this is a bad thing? I've seen the kitchens decked out like 4star restauraunts -but think a lot of people are just happy to get the freezer big enough to hold what they need so more trips to store are not needed--maybe we could put a max on energy consumption? go over a certain amt. from grid and pay more? (oh wait they already do that!)”
huffingtonpost entry

Conflict at Zambian Mine Casts a Shadow on Chinese Labor Practices

Commented Oct 21, 2010 at 15:02:26 in World

“May I also point you to my own 2008 report, China's Environmental Footprint in Africa, at www.internationalrivers.org/en/node/2796.
huffingtonpost entry

China's Biggest Bank "Not a Mercenary" in Africa

Commented Sep 28, 2010 at 20:22:52 in Green

“As we learned in early September, ICBC did approve the controversial loan for the Gibe 3 Dam. We can only conclude that the bank is prioritizing short-term financial interests over social and environmental concerns and its own reputation. See www.internationalrivers.org/en/node/5819 for an NGO press release on the decision.”
huffingtonpost entry

Global Lessons from the Pakistan Flood Catastrophe

Commented Aug 23, 2010 at 20:19:23 in Green

“Excellent commentary!”
huffingtonpost entry

The Forgotten Downstream Victims of Large Dams

Commented Jun 18, 2010 at 22:10:55 in Green

“Good point. It is happening in a big way in Burma, where the government does not care about environmental impacts, including on downstream ecosystems and populations, at all. You will find more information about this at www.burmariversnetwork.org.”

TanMan on Jun 19, 2010 at 15:01:37

“Thanks I checked it out. Amazing Burma is suffering in many more ways than publicly known.”
huffingtonpost entry

James Cameron in the Amazon: Avatar Meets Real Life

Commented Apr 14, 2010 at 19:37:02 in Green

“Good news: On April 14, Brazil's public attorney (Ministerio Publico) canceled the auction of the Belo Monte Dam and suspended the license for the project due to irregularities in the process. See the office's press release (in Portuguese) at http://www.prpa.mpf.gov.br/noticias/justica-suspende-leilao-e-licenca-de-belo-monte .”

good story on Apr 15, 2010 at 19:02:19

“I agree, this really is GOOD NEWS in many ways and a big thanks to James Cameron for following his movie with continuation and example of effort.

There are several examples of where Avatar has exposed international attention including the Dongria Khond in Orissa India fighting Vedanta.

Avatar has dramatised the reality between stakeholders removed accountability and the suffering of indigenous people unjustly loosing their lands. A firm definition and application of a community engagement concept known as Free, Prior, Informed Consent (FPIC), to benefit indigenous peoples around the world needs to be applied by the Brazilian government BEFORE any auction.”
huffingtonpost entry

Real Environmentalists Eat Meat

Commented Apr 3, 2010 at 22:02:05 in Green

“Well said.”

entopticon on Apr 4, 2010 at 01:41:38

“I completely disagree. In fact, pastured ruminants are far and away our best hope for saving and maintaining the grasslands that are essential to our planet's health.”
huffingtonpost entry

If you don't quit while you're ahead... Why we don't need an Avatar sequel.

Commented Feb 5, 2010 at 00:13:01 in Entertainment

“What about bringing Avatar back home to planet Earth? See "Avatar is not a fantasy" (www.survivalinternational.org/news/5440) and "The Avatar Sequel: Damming Pandora" (www.internationalrivers.org/en/node/5031). Stories abound on our own little world!”
The Avatar Sequel: Damming Pandora

The Avatar Sequel: Damming Pandora

Commented Jan 29, 2010 at 19:18:09 in Green

“I am not opposed to all dam building. But we must find a new balance between our demand for energy and the rights of nature an affected people. We can't continue destroying life forms and cultures just for short-term profit and comfort. In Switzerland, too many dams were built, but affected villagers and environmental organizations put a stop to that. Swiss (and many other) companies continue building destructive dams in other parts of the world, including the Pandoras of this world. We should turn to a more sustainable lifestyle, and support the groups whose livelihoods are at stake in these projects.”

PoliticalJunkie65 on Jan 31, 2010 at 12:55:07

“Even dams built by beavers? :-)”
We're Borrowing Half A Planet From Our Kids

We're Borrowing Half A Planet From Our Kids

Commented Dec 1, 2009 at 21:46:07 in Green

“Ron,

I think we will need solutions on all levels, but agree that at least in terms of resource use, we need more localized economies. And I agree that a large and growing population puts a huge strain on the planet. At the same time, we shouldn't lose sight of the fact that we some rich people in the US or Europe consume as much resources as a small town in India or Africa. Yet given the distribution of power, population measures will tend to start with the poor, instead of the wasteful rich consumers.

As you and others have said, reducing wasteful consumption requires a fairer sharing of resources. Yet most readers of the Huffington Post probably live at the affluent end of the global spectrum, and at this place, we have no excuse for inaction.

Peter”
We're Borrowing Half A Planet From Our Kids

We're Borrowing Half A Planet From Our Kids

Commented Dec 1, 2009 at 21:42:27 in Green

“Ron,

I think we will need solutions on all levels, but agree that at least in terms of resource use, we need more localized economies. And I agree that a large and growing population puts a huge strain on the planet. At the same time, we shouldn't lose sight of the fact that we some rich people in the US or Europe consume as much resources as a small town in India or Africa. Yet given the distribution of power, population measures will tend to start with the poor, instead of the wasteful rich consumers.

As you and others have said, reducing wasteful consumption requires a fairer sharing of resources. Yet most readers of the Huffington Post probably live at the affluent end of the global spectrum, and at this place, we have no excuse for inaction.

Peter”