Report says Three Gorges Dam not responsible for climate change

BEIJING 11/17/11 (PennWell) -- A study conducted by China’s Academy of Social Sciences reports that Three Gorges Dam has not contributed to widespread climate change.

The report, documented by Chinese state news agency Xinhua, found that the dam’s environmental impact was limited to a 12-mile radius. Three Gorges impounds water for a 22,400-MW hydro project. The dam was designed to control the flood-prone Yangtze River.

The report comes in response to criticism over the world’s largest hydropower dam, which grew considerably over the past year as China’s Hunan and Jiangxi provinces suffered their worst droughts in half a century.

Critics wondered if the low water levels in Dongting and Poyang lakes -- both downstream from Three Gorges on the Yangtze River -- were perhaps the most visible evidence of the dam’s negative effects, but several scientists said there was no evidence that the dam had caused the drought.

“No direct link has been found between the dam and local severe droughts and floods in recent years,” said the SSAP report.

Instead, it is believed that extreme weather conditions caused by abnormal atmospheric circulation and air temperature incurred by changes in ocean temperature and snow conditions at the Quinghai-Tibet Plateau are to blame, according to the report.

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