Climate Change Mitigation and Resilience

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For hydropower projects, climate change mitigation potential rests in the ability to provide clean energy with lifetime low greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Hydropower climate resilience is the capacity of a hydropower project or system to absorb the stresses imposed by climate change, and in the process develop greater robustness, maintaining the capacity for adaptation.

Hydropower developers may undertake various activities relating to climate change mitigation and resilience, including estimation and management of the project’s GHG emissions, analysis and management of the risks of climate change for the project, and managing the project’s role in climate change adaptation.

Planning hydropower systems from a long-term, climate-resilient perspective will ensure that future generations inherit infrastructure that will not be compromised by climate change and will be able to provide a range of climate adaptation services.

Understanding good practice

International industry good practice in climate change mitigation and resilience for hydropower projects is defined in the Hydropower Sustainability Guidelines on Good International Industry Practice (HGIIP).

The guidelines were published by the International Hydropower Association and are governed by the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Council, a multi-stakeholder group of representatives of civil society, industry, governments and financial institutions.

Assessing project performance

Two assessment tools are available to measure hydropower project performance:

The Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol (HSAP)  is used by independent accredited assessors to consider whether a project has achieved good and best practice at different stages of its life cycle. Climate Change Mitigation and Resilience is addressed in P-24 for the preparation stage, I-21 for the implementation stage and O-20 in the operation stage.

The Hydropower Sustainability ESG Gap Analysis Tool is used by independent accredited assessors to help project teams address any gaps against good practice in environmental, social and governance topics across 12 assessment sections. Climate Change Mitigation and Resilience is addressed in Section 10.

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