Tensions escalate over Amazon mega-dam

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    Apr 08, 2011 4:02 AM GMT
    BBC said
    "Brazil has said a request to halt work on its massive hydro-electric dam in the Amazon rainforest is unjustified despite environmental concerns. The government, in Brasilia, says the dam is crucial for development and will create jobs, as well as provide electricity to 23 million homes.
    The 11,000-megawatt dam would be the third biggest in the world - after the Three Gorges in China and Itaipu, which is jointly run by Brazil and Paraguay.
    They say the 6km (3.7 miles) dam will threaten the survival of a number of indigenous groups and could make some 50,000 people homeless, as 500 sq km (190 sq miles) of land would be flooded."
    Amazon Watch said
    "Mega-projects typically confront indigenous communities with disease, loss of food and clean water sources, cultural disintegration and human rights abuses by illegal loggers, migrant workers and land speculators"
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-12990099

    While Brazil continues to establish itself as an economic powerhouse, with 7.5 per cent growth in 2010 alone, the new president needs to focus on indigenous rights and the environment if the country is to progress in an inclusive and sustainable way. However, is it possible to find progress without destroying the sustainability of indigenous life?
    Decision science need to be applied in reaching a compromise while maintaining priorities.
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    Apr 08, 2011 6:33 AM GMT
    Maybe Hydro power is the smart way to go for Brazil, harness a tiny fraction of power from the largest river on the planet.

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    Apr 08, 2011 6:58 AM GMT

    I think there is worse happening in fairness and the world cannot afford to cooment on the destruction of the rainforrests as they sit around their new teak dining table.....

    Whatever about Brazil, the elephant in the room here is China, given that they open a new coal fired power plant every week
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    Apr 08, 2011 7:35 AM GMT
    Save the rainforest, go Nuclear (it takes less space)
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    Apr 08, 2011 8:05 AM GMT


    Well you can't argue with Hydro, certainly from a sustainability point of view.

    Nuclear is still a finite resource, even more so than oil.

    The end - end game (i.e. in 200 - 500 years) will be ultra deep bore geothermal and / or orbital solar stations.
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    Apr 08, 2011 8:38 AM GMT
    Nuclear is also sustainable and in the case of deforestation, it would be the logical route to generating their power requirements.

    But we have to remember that sustainability is not purely about the environment and that is the common misunderstanding!
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    Apr 08, 2011 9:17 AM GMT
    holyrood saidNuclear is also sustainable and in the case of deforestation, it would be the logical route to generating their power requirements.

    But we have to remember that sustainability is not purely about the environment and that is the common misunderstanding!


    How is it sustainable? The fuel source is still finite.

    And a common error people make is this:

    At present nuclear accounts for about 6% of the world power, but they tell us that there are hundreds of years supply, but what they don't tell you is that figure is at current consumption. if Nuclear was to become more widespread, and reach say 80 or 90%, then fuel supply levels would only last decades.
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    Apr 08, 2011 9:23 AM GMT


    Correction, my figures are wrong, Nuclear accounts for 12 - 14%, but the argument still stands.
  • bad_wolf

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    Apr 08, 2011 10:43 AM GMT
    I'm all for hydro-electricity but at the cost of many homes, species and not to mention a natural wonder. I don't believe it's worth it. Why go environmental when you risk destroying more to save less?

    The wind farms off the southern coast of the UK came at no cost to the ecosystem in the area, species and population remained balanced with the benefit of 5.2 gW of power for the UK, which now makes up 20% of our annual output.
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    Apr 08, 2011 11:44 AM GMT
    Thisuserexists said
    holyrood saidNuclear is also sustainable and in the case of deforestation, it would be the logical route to generating their power requirements.

    But we have to remember that sustainability is not purely about the environment and that is the common misunderstanding!


    How is it sustainable? The fuel source is still finite.

    And a common error people make is this:

    At present nuclear accounts for about 6% of the world power, but they tell us that there are hundreds of years supply, but what they don't tell you is that figure is at current consumption. if Nuclear was to become more widespread, and reach say 80 or 90%, then fuel supply levels would only last decades.



    I think that you may be confused! Sustainability does not have to refer to infinite supply! Nuclear by means of not producing harmful emissions at the point of creating energy is sustainable in todays climate!

    The UK is now considering reducing plans to build wide-spread wind-farms due to cost and other issues regarding sustainability and will instead, building 7 new nuclear power plants. With the current advancement of technology, it wont be long before the spent fuel rods will be capable of re-use for power generation rather than for use within weapons.
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    Apr 08, 2011 11:48 AM GMT
    heybreaux saidSolar is the future, the distant future, but the future nonetheless...

    Energy is going to have to come from a variety of sources and include them all.

    As far as the balance between destructiveness and sustainability, the question is not if, but how much. But as the article suggests, it is going to continue to be a slippery slope between ...for instance: 20,000 displaced people + 50,000 homeless... or 23 million homes powered?

    The current studies should focus on what combination makes the most sense, and what can be applied to the best situations, etc. Apply a sort of Occam's Razor to the entire universe of energy and different areas to come up with the right combinations. But I have to say that there is likely going to be a continued and increasing amount of corruption and disregard for people as the world continues to want to raise living standards combined with the 1/3 who already have higher living standards.

    It would be interesting to see a global mandate like the Balanced Budget Amendment (theoretically) wherein if you take from one thing it has to be justified someplace else. Globalization anyone? So in that light, if you displace people for a bigger picture solution, you must reticfy the former.

    Good luck with that, however, it ain't going to be easy! Lives will be lost and money will be made. Fasten your seatbelts!




    unfortunately, some people will suffer loss in order for the greater population to progress, its tough but has to be accepted. I do on this occasion support the retention and protection of the natural habitat and think that other solutions should be considered. :-)
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    Apr 08, 2011 11:50 AM GMT
    holyrood said
    Thisuserexists said
    holyrood saidNuclear is also sustainable and in the case of deforestation, it would be the logical route to generating their power requirements.

    But we have to remember that sustainability is not purely about the environment and that is the common misunderstanding!


    How is it sustainable? The fuel source is still finite.

    And a common error people make is this:

    At present nuclear accounts for about 6% of the world power, but they tell us that there are hundreds of years supply, but what they don't tell you is that figure is at current consumption. if Nuclear was to become more widespread, and reach say 80 or 90%, then fuel supply levels would only last decades.



    I think that you may be confused! Sustainability does not have to refer to infinite supply! Nuclear by means of not producing harmful emissions at the point of creating energy is sustainable in todays climate!

    The UK is now considering reducing plans to build wide-spread wind-farms due to cost and other issues regarding sustainability and will instead, building 7 new nuclear power plants. With the current advancement of technology, it wont be long before the spent fuel rods will be capable of re-use for power generation rather than for use within weapons.


    I'm not confused.

    So what about clean coal technologies? and what about the by products of nuclear, you can't re-use the spent fuel rods and create energy from no where!

    Look up the word sustainable and tell me what it says, it means exactly that, sources of energy & practices that can be "sustained"

    You are mixing up sustainability and the carbon / global warming debate.

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    Apr 08, 2011 12:02 PM GMT
    I am not confusing anything! The word sustainable does not mean infinitely available and without natural exhaustion! I assume from your comments that you are somewhat of an expert in this field? I think further appreciation of the subject as a whole is required and I am somewhat surprised that the extraction and continual use of coal would be mentioned within a debate regarding the environment! yes, there is an abundance of coal, but look at the process of extraction, treatment, burning, carbon capture, of course within countries that actually embrace Kyoto, Copenhagen etc

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    Apr 08, 2011 7:14 PM GMT
    heybreaux saidSolar is the future, the distant future, but the future nonetheless...

    Energy is going to have to come from a variety of sources and include them all.

    As far as the balance between destructiveness and sustainability, the question is not if, but how much. But as the article suggests, it is going to continue to be a slippery slope between ...for instance: 20,000 displaced people + 50,000 homeless... or 23 million homes powered?

    The current studies should focus on what combination makes the most sense, and what can be applied to the best situations, etc. Apply a sort of Occam's Razor to the entire universe of energy and different areas to come up with the right combinations. But I have to say that there is likely going to be a continued and increasing amount of corruption and disregard for people as the world continues to want to raise living standards combined with the 1/3 who already have higher living standards.

    It would be interesting to see a global mandate like the Balanced Budget Amendment (theoretically) wherein if you take from one thing it has to be justified someplace else. Globalization anyone? So in that light, if you displace people for a bigger picture solution, you must reticfy the former.


    I agree with you. Solar along with geothermal is the answer. Even wind is not as efficient as solar. While geothermal is harder to tap into, solar is not. We will not be able to match the efficiency of patrol to other energy resources for a long time to come. However, I do believe it is time to come away from ethanol from corn.

    The other thing is I wonder about the displaced. I wonder if these estimates are accurate. It seemed based on the population density, the estimates would be much lower. Regardless, there will be a terrible loss for the native population of the area-flora and fawna.

    Building the dam is the lesser evil when measuring progress in terms of productivity. As precious as the rare plants and non-human animals are, they are useless in contributing to real-time growth.
  • creature

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    Apr 08, 2011 11:53 PM GMT
    As much as I appreciate environmentalists and support much of their causes, I think it's unfair for these groups to ask countries to stop much needed development. Especially when these environmentalists come from homes that are a result of deforestation and human and animal displacement. I doubt many of them would give up their current lifestyle to let their towns and cities return to the way it used it look.
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    Apr 09, 2011 3:38 PM GMT


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tidal_power
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    Apr 09, 2011 4:10 PM GMT
    Thanks for posting this... Ive been posting about this for almost half a year now on RJ, but nobody even paid attention to it

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    Apr 09, 2011 4:11 PM GMT
    carminea saidAs precious as the rare plants and non-human animals are, they are useless in contributing to real-time growth.


    Ehm, WOW, you really know very little about the importance of biodiversity to human well-being, do you?
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    Apr 09, 2011 4:12 PM GMT
    creature saidAs much as I appreciate environmentalists and support much of their causes, I think it's unfair for these groups to ask countries to stop much needed development. Especially when these environmentalists come from homes that are a result of deforestation and human and animal displacement. I doubt many of them would give up their current lifestyle to let their towns and cities return to the way it used it look.


    Nope, I sure would
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    Apr 09, 2011 4:14 PM GMT
    carminea said

    The other thing is I wonder about the displaced. I wonder if these estimates are accurate. It seemed based on the population density, the estimates would be much lower. Regardless, there will be a terrible loss for the native population of the area-flora and fawna.

    Building the dam is the lesser evil when measuring progress in terms of productivity.


    Ehm, sheesh, i dont even know where to begin with this...

    We are talking about thousands of people that will poor into the poor areas of Brazil's large cities and will literally be relegated to the poor and jobless class, thereby contributing to Brazil's poverty, while at the same time enriching the small upper class which gains profits from these industries

    Productivity and wealth does not necessarily mean human well-being, especially if it decreases the wealth of many and increases the wealth of a few... a common problem in the third world today
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    Apr 09, 2011 4:17 PM GMT
    holyrood said
    heybreaux said Lives will be lost and money will be made.




    unfortunately, some people will suffer loss in order for the greater population to progress, its tough but has to be accepted.


    OK, no problem, come here and Ill make you guys suffer and/or kill you for my own well-being... Ive got no problem with that
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    Apr 09, 2011 4:22 PM GMT
    http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=55194&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter
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    Apr 10, 2011 1:31 AM GMT
    Pato_Rico said
    Ehm, sheesh, i dont even know where to begin with this...

    We are talking about thousands of people that will poor into the poor areas of Brazil's large cities and will literally be relegated to the poor and jobless class, thereby contributing to Brazil's poverty, while at the same time enriching the small upper class which gains profits from these industries

    Productivity and wealth does not necessarily mean human well-being, especially if it decreases the wealth of many and increases the wealth of a few... a common problem in the third world today

    Patrick, I certainly understand the point you make. I agree that protecting the environment is important. I have researched this further, and found that about 600 species of fish found nowhere else would become extinct, and think about the amount of carbon dioxide that will be the by product. But this amount will certainly be less than the same amount of energy being produced from oil, wood, and coal that is being used currently.

    However, in this case, with a struggling economy, Brazil needs a project like this to increase productivity and supply the growing economy. Think about the number of jobs that will be created even with rampant corruption. Yes, 20,000+50,000 people will be relocated/homeless, but 23,000,000 homes will be given electricity, that is not a few. Additionally, it will provide for industries like mining and minerals. Most likely, the homeless will also be relocated nearby, certainly the government does not want to reduce agricultural output. Perhaps they will be given job in the building of the plant.

    Perhaps, Brazil and other countries can rely on more sustainable forms of energy resources -like solar, geothermal, and wind-a growing commodity in Brazil.