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GHG emissions

Climate mitigation

Introduction

Mitigating climate change is one of the most important goals for sustainable development. There is a clear and pressing need to quantify the greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint of all human activities so that efforts to reduce or mitigate those impacts can be effectively targeted.

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The issue of GHG emissions attracts increasing focus from governments, lenders and other stakeholders. Reliable, consistent approaches are required to evaluate GHG emissions for all types of assets at different stages of development.

The GHG status of freshwater reservoirs – that is, any change in GHG emissions in a river basin resulting from the creation of a reservoir – has been discussed in both scientific and policy forums.

There are concerns around the uncertainty in estimates of GHG emissions from reservoir systems, and that these impacts are often attributed to hydropower projects, while reservoirs serve multiple purposes.

 

Our work on GHG emissions

The uncertainties around GHG emissions from reservoirs and the lack of consensus led to consultation between scientists, the International Hydropower Association (IHA) and UNESCO’s International Hydrological Programme (UNESCO-IHP), with the subsequent launch of the UNESCO/IHA GHG Research Project – GHG Status of Freshwater Reservoirs.

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This Project, hosted by IHA in collaboration with UNESCO-IHP, aims to improve understanding of the impact of reservoirs on natural GHG emissions and of the processes involved, and to help fill knowledge gaps in this area.

This process led to the development of the UNESCO/IHA GHG Measurement Guidelines for Freshwater Reservoirs (2011) and the GHG Risk Screening Tool (released as a beta version) in 2013. 

The intention of the guidelines was to improve the accuracy and consistency in measuring GHG emissions from reservoir systems. The screening tool was designed to provide an estimate of ‘gross’ GHG emissions from the reservoir and was based on empirical data from measurements taken at a range of existing reservoirs.

 

Latest associated content

  • GHG comparison study

    Comparing power generation options: study highlights hydropower’s place in the energy mix

    A Canadian study based on life-cycle assessments sheds light on how different power generation options and electricity mixes compare in terms of their greenhouse gas footprint and environmental impact.

    Type:
    Blog post
    Date:
    12 February 2016
  • World leaders celebrate the Paris Agreement

    What will the Paris Agreement mean for hydropower development?

    After two weeks of intense negotiations in Paris, 195 nations have agreed on a plan to hold the “increase in the global average temperature to well below 2° C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temper

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    Blog post
    Date:
    21 January 2016
  • Insights on hydropower's future from four associations

    We collaborated with HydroWorld to produce this short film, showcasing views on the sector from four different hydropower associations: the International Hydropower Association, National Hydropower Association, Canadian Hydropow

    Type:
    Blog post
    Date:
    6 January 2016
  • 2015 year in pictures

    The year in pictures: 2015

    At the end of 2015 we can look back on a significant year for hydropower, from the gathering of the sector at the World Hydropower Congress in Beijing, to the crucial Paris Agreement at COP21. Here are just some of the highlight

    Type:
    Blog post
    Date:
    15 December 2015
  • GHG webinar

    Webinar introducing the G-res tool: watch the recording

    On Wednesday 2 December we hosted a webinar that provided an overview of the IHA/UNESCO project on the GHG status of freshwater reservoirs, an introduction to the G-res tool, as well as the opportunity for partcipants to pose questions to the tool

    Type:
    Blog post
    Date:
    3 December 2015

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