Study: Three Gorges Dam Did Not Worsen Climate Change

The much-maligned Three Gorges Dam received a domestic boost on Friday when a study by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences found no evidence that the project caused climate change. From Xinhua News:

Research has shown that the radius around the dam within which environmental conditions have been impacted by the development is less than 20 km, said the report titled “Green Book of Climate Change: Annual Report on Actions to Address Climate Change (2011)”, published by the Social Sciences Academic Press under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

No direct link has been found between the dam and local severe droughts and floods in recent years, according to the report, which instead laid the blame on extreme weather conditions caused by abnormal atmospheric circulation and air temperature mainly incurred by changes in ocean temperature and snow conditions at the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.

The results of the study come amid growing controversy over the dam’s impact, according to The New York Times, and as China continues to send out mixed messages regarding its stance on Climate Change. In May, the State Council acknowledged the negative impact of the dam and officials from the Ministry of Environmental Protection referred to China’s overall environmental situation as “very grave” in their 2010 annual report. 

See also a Globe and Mail infographic on why the Three Gorges is blamed for China’s drought and CDT coverage of a report on officials who regret their failure to predict the dam’s consequences.