Focus Session

Hydropower’s carbon footprint

Assessing the greenhouse gas footprint of hydropower activities

Hydropower's carbon footprint

Wednesday 15 May 2019 | 09:30-10:45

Mitigating climate change is one of the most important goals for strategic sustainable development. It is recognised by a range of stakeholders, including financiers who look to quantify the greenhouse gas footprint of their investments. The greenhouse gas status of freshwater reservoirs – that is, any change in the GHG emissions in a river basin resulting from the creation of such a reservoir – has been the focus of a multi-year, multi-stakeholder research project led in partnership by IHA and the UNESCO Chair for Global Environmental Change. This research project resulted in the launch of the G-res tool in 2017. The G-res Tool employs a new conceptual framework that reflects a net emissions approach, which takes into account pre-impoundment conditions and emissions translated from other human activities. The G-res Tool is an online resource that builds upon this methodology and enables users to estimate the GHG footprint of reservoirs, and allocate these to the services it provides, including hydropower activities.

Session objectives:

How can the G-res Tool help demonstrate the environmental performance of hydropower?

G-res Tool developers and users will share their insights and experiences using the G-res Tool. They will discuss the approach to emissions related to other human activities, infrastructure construction, and the allocation of emissions to the reservoir’s purposes. The tool’s potential impact on future project development will be discussed, and how hydropower can be an positive agent to achieving the Sustainable Development and Paris agreement goals.


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Yves Prairie