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More dam work

April 21, 2009 - Rob Weaver
China, which already has the world’s largest hydroelectric dam — the Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River — plans to build at least 20 more along the 3,900-mile-long river in the next 11 years, a Chinese official announced Tuesday.
A vice minister of water resources announced the plans are an important part of weaning the country off coal, which now supplies 70 percent of the nation’s energy.
Hydro power has drawbacks. For one, it means people — and China has a lot of them — must be relocated. Also, dam construction has an environmental impact, as does the flooding which follows.
Monday, according to an article in the official China Daily newspaper passed along by The Associated Press, the Chinese Academy of Sciences found Three Gorges Dam is harming water quality and ecosystems of the wetlands as well as fish stocks. A report by the academy also warns climate change likely will reduce the river’s water supply,  because rainfall has decreased every year since 2006.
Of course, some scientists claim coal-fired power plants pollute the air and contribute mightily to global warming ... or what’s now referred to as climate change.
It sounds like a case of dammed if they do, damned if they don’t.


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