While most developed countries have reduced the construction of large dams for the production of electricity in recent decades, developing countries, including Brazil, have embarked on even more massive hydropower developments.
These countries have not accounted for the environmental impacts of large dams, which include deforestation and the loss of biodiversity, or the social consequences, such as the displacement of thousands of people and the economic damages they suffer. These effects should be computed in the total cost of such projects. Worse still, these projects ignore the context of climate change, which will lead to lower amounts of water available for storage and electricity generation.
The warning comes from an article by researchers at Michigan State University in the United States published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS).
The lead author is Emilio Moran, a visiting professor at the University of Campinas (UNICAMP) in São Paulo State, Brazil, and the principal investigator of a research project supported by FAPESP under the São Paulo Excellence Chair program (SPEC), which is designed to study the social and environmental impact of Belo Monte hydropower development near Altamira, Pará state.
Read more at Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo