Hydropower reservoirs are likely responsible for the global warming says a new environmental study. Earlier impression was that low-carbon electricity of the reservoirs can be used to cut greenhouse gas emissions to combat climate change.
But, according to the new study, the same reservoirs emit global warming gases. A team of researchers has now tallied that these gases impact the climate and are responsible for about 1.3 percent of the world's man-made greenhouse gas emissions each year.
The study is to be published in the journal Bioscience next week. The environmental impact findings come from a team of researchers led by Washington State University-Vancouver and the Environmental Protection Agency.
That emissions estimate may not sound like much, but the study says reservoir emissions can contribute significantly to carbon budgets countries use to meet their climate goals.
Reservoirs emit mostly methane, a greenhouse gas about 35 times as potent as carbon dioxide in its potential to warm the atmosphere over the course of a century.
Knowing how reservoirs contribute to global warming is critical because there is a dam-building boom occurring worldwide. Reports show that about 3,700 major hydropower dams were planned or under construction globally as of 2014.