fredag 4. desember 2020

China's Tibetan Hydropower Plan Sparks Worries Among Downstream Countries

Plans by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to begin construction of a new dam and hydropower project on the Yarlung Tsangpo River, which becomes the Brahmaputra River in India and Bangladesh, have sparked concerns over massive environmental destruction, social impact and downstream water shortages, experts have told RFA.

State-owned Power Construction Corp. chairman Yan Zhiyong said the plan to create up to 60 gigawatts (GW) of hydropower capacity was a "historic opportunity" to boost China's clean energy plan as well as the country's water supply security, according to the China Energy News, sister publication of CCP paper the People's Daily.

The CCP has listed "developing hydropower resources on the ... Yarlung Tsangpo river" in its Five Year Plan running from 2021-2025. The planned project could have three times the capacity of the controversial Three Gorges Dam. But environmental groups and Tibetan rights activists said such projects wreak environmental havoc and have a severe impact on downstream water supplies.

"Scientists have warned that constant construction of hydropower dams will lead to earthquakes, landslides and also submerge land and forests under water, which will endanger wildlife," Zamlha Tenpa Gyaltsen, environmental analyst at the Dharamsala-based Tibet Policy Institute, told RFA in a recent interview.