Himalayan flood disaster exposes risks of India’s rush for green energy

From The GWPF

Date: 13/02/21 The Times

India has built hundreds of dams and hydroelectric plants along its Himalayan rivers to conserve water supplies and build renewable energy sources. This has destabilised the ecosystem.

A reckless dash for cheap green energy or the threat of climate change are not at the forefront of rescuers’ thoughts as they search for survivors after a glacier in the Himalayas collapsed.

The deluge, which smothered hydroelectric projects and killed hundreds of people, has exposed the scale of a rush for renewable energy, in part an effort to avert the global warming that probably contributed to the disaster.

More than 200 people are missing after a torrent poured down valleys in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand on Sunday, obliterating a dam and two hydropower schemes. At least 36 bodies have been found, some washed 150 miles downstream….

Experts blame climate change, with the impact of rising temperatures exacerbated by a surge in construction. India has built hundreds of dams and hydroelectric plants along its Himalayan rivers to conserve water supplies and build renewable energy sources. This has destabilised the ecosystem….

Full article here.

3.4 12 votes
Article Rating
67 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Chris Nisbet
February 13, 2021 10:35 pm

“Experts blame climate change”.
Which experts? All experts? Do any experts _not_ blame climate change?

Greg
Reply to  Chris Nisbet
February 13, 2021 11:50 pm

Typical journo trick. Experts is plural so you only need to be able to find two to prove you’re not lying.
The Guardian does this every day with claims of what “scientists believe”.

mwhite
Reply to  Chris Nisbet
February 14, 2021 1:39 am
Pat from kerbob
Reply to  mwhite
February 14, 2021 7:26 am

John Robson has been doing a great series of blog posts on the “scientists say” meme over at

https://climatediscussionnexus.com/

Meab
Reply to  Pat from kerbob
February 14, 2021 8:59 am

I highly recommend the Climate Discussion Nexus. They produce professional videos on a wide variety of climate topics and usually refer to actual data or studies that refute the false narrative of impending climate doom.

Komerade Cube
Reply to  Chris Nisbet
February 14, 2021 12:59 pm

Loydo and Griff

Waza
February 13, 2021 10:57 pm

When did India not have floods?

gringojay
Reply to  Waza
February 13, 2021 11:09 pm

And why are dams managing water for people & hydroelectric plants for improving the energy supply for people in India less appropriate than in other countries?

Greg
Reply to  gringojay
February 13, 2021 11:52 pm

Who said they were not “appropriate”? Do you mean technically appropriate solutions or lefty moralist “appropriate”?

gringojay
Reply to  Greg
February 14, 2021 12:58 am

Original post: “reckless dash … the threat … exposed … disaster …” jargon is not something I read about dams in western developed countries.

Ron Long
Reply to  gringojay
February 14, 2021 2:31 am

gringojay, I am guessing (educated guess due to experience) the problem was a failure to construct dams and associated hydroelectric facilities with enough consideration of the flood potential in terrain with steep gradients. These types of dams must include a design that lets a flood over-top them without failure of the basic structure.

pochas94
Reply to  Ron Long
February 14, 2021 5:35 am

They really needed a nuke, built well above the flood plain, in a seismically quiet zone. But now they won’t have the money.

gringojay
Reply to  Ron Long
February 14, 2021 9:49 am

Avalanche resulting from a portion of a glacier breaking off is what, as I understand it, triggered the water volume displacement that broke that dam. Previously this kind of disaster, when the unlikely happens, would have been termed an “act of god” in western counties.

MarkW
Reply to  gringojay
February 14, 2021 3:07 pm

These types of landslides are hardly unusual in these areas.
Not planning for easily anticipated events extremely foolhardy, and hardly an “act of God”.

Bob boder
Reply to  gringojay
February 14, 2021 3:35 pm

So the question is are the dams allowing more people to live in areas where this can happen?

rah
Reply to  Ron Long
February 14, 2021 1:08 pm

Difficult I think. After all one has the huge influx of winter melt from the third most abundant source of ice on earth followed by, and some times overlapping with, the Monsoons! Tremendous potential for volume variability from year to year.

MarkW
Reply to  gringojay
February 14, 2021 3:04 pm

You are reading into this what you want to see. Not what is there.

Given the size of the disaster, are you really going to argue that the design of these dams weren’t reckless, that there wasn’t a threat, etc.?

John Pickens
February 13, 2021 11:10 pm

When did climate NOT change?

RickWill
Reply to  John Pickens
February 13, 2021 11:34 pm

That is a good question.

There is no doubt Earth is still rebounding from the last period of glaciation. That is reflected in the slowly increasing temperature of the deep oceans causing their expansion and the still gradual retreat of glaciers.

The climate that humans experience is over the surface of the Earth and the energy available to that climate has been steady for quite some time. Both poles have sea ice with interface at -2C and all three tropical oceans are reaching the controlled 30C annually. So the surface temperature has been fixed for a century or more and will remain so for at least this century.

Earth’s orbital eccentricity is reducing and that will reduce the variation between insolation from perihelion to aphelion. That is unlikely to cause any change in the energy balance as it exists now

Climate is always changing but as experienced by humans on the surface it has been steady for the last century and will remain that way for the next century. There is plenty of measurement error and data tampering to convince people otherwise but that does not change the reality.

Meab
Reply to  RickWill
February 14, 2021 9:23 am

Don’t get me wrong as I’m the first to say that the narrative of an impending climate crisis is a scam. Most misunderstand the Milankovitch cycles. The Earth is already at the point where its orbit is already nearly circular, it’s only 3% closer to sun during the northern hemisphere winter which makes the NH winter slightly warmer (~7% more solar insolation) AND slightly shorter than in the SH’s. As the Earth’s orbit becomes more eccentric over 10s of thousands of years, the semi-major axis doesn’t change, the orbit pinches down in the middle. The distance to the sun doesn’t change at the solstices, but the time spent in each season does with less time spent in winter and summer, more time spent in Spring and Autumn. In any case, orbital eccentricity is responsible for less climate change than long term changes in the tilt and precession of the Earth’s rotational axis.

Bob boder
Reply to  Meab
February 14, 2021 3:38 pm

The eccentricity has little to do with it. It’s the tilt of the earth which also changes over time

Sara
Reply to  John Pickens
February 14, 2021 6:17 am

Mr. PIckens, you could add a spew alert when you post something like that.

When did climate not change: Last time was likely the Nebraska cold period in North America, which lasted about 140,000 years. It appears that before that prolonged period which began 470,000 years ago. Before that, it appears that the warm periods were longer than the cold periods, and afterwards, the warm periods were considerably shorter than the cold. That’s on this continent. Right now, we are 18,000 years into this warm period and if it goes to a longer timeframe, so be it.

I still don’t know what the issue is. It’s as though the media want some kind of freak show permanent ice age to justify their existence.

Chris Nisbet
February 13, 2021 11:23 pm

Actually, it reads a bit like they’re saying “in an effort to respond to a non-problem (human-caused climate change), India has rushed to install lots of poorly designed hydro-power systems and created an actual problem (destabilised ecosystems)”.

Greg
February 13, 2021 11:54 pm

IPCC green slush fund is probably largely responsible. Govts can no longer get finance to build a reliable coal power station in a safe location but there’s free money for “renewables” like these dams.

Good news is there more money ( our money ) to rebuild them again !!

griff
February 14, 2021 12:45 am

? This whole thing is nonsense: push for hydro power causes glacial collapse?

How, exactly? How much extra hydropower is being built to meet green targets?

I thought skeptics were FOR dams???!

Alan M
Reply to  griff
February 14, 2021 4:56 am

So did blasting for tunnel construction have an influence? Just asking as you have all the answers

Climate believer
Reply to  griff
February 14, 2021 5:24 am

“This whole thing is nonsense”

Calm down, it’s an article from The Sunday Times written by Hugh Tomlinson and Bilal Kuchay, not Alex Jones.

I thought skeptics were FOR dams???!”

Lovely straw man again Griff.

“How, exactly? How much extra hydropower is being built to meet green targets?”

From June of last year:

https://india.mongabay.com/2020/06/the-return-of-the-mega-hydropower-projects-across-india/

“In January 2019, an (Indian) parliamentary standing committee in its report had expressed concern over the slow pace of the hydropower sector stating that it has not got the deserved attention despite having numerous benefits.

It had noted that having only 45,399.22 MW of installed capacity of hydropower against the total potential of 241,844 megawatts speaks volumes. At present, India’s total installed capacity from hydropower projects is 45,699.22 MW. According to the Central Water Commission’s data, as of June 2019, there are about 5,745 constructed/under construction large dams in India.

Subsequently, in March 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Union Cabinet had approved measures to promote the hydropower sector.

One of the main decisions was to declare large hydropower projects as renewable energy against the existing practice of only calling hydropower projects less than 25MW as renewable energy projects.

The government since then has been also pushing for including large hydropower projects under non-solar Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO). Once done it would mean that the power distribution companies will have to buy a particular amount of power in the form of non-solar renewable power from such large hydropower projects.

This is when the government itself admits that the distribution companies are reluctant to sign Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) from hydropower projects due to “higher tariff, particularly, in the initial years.” 

“push for hydro power causes glacial collapse?”

I doubt that it was a Glacial lake outburst flood, could be wrong.

ATheoK
Reply to  Climate believer
February 14, 2021 12:33 pm

On target Climate believer!

Note that to reach giffiepoo’s false strawman assumption, giffie failed to read the comments and ascertain comment thread opinions…

Bob boder
Reply to  Climate believer
February 14, 2021 3:41 pm

I doubt the dams are an issue, but the people moving to these area because of the dams that is an issue.

fred250
Reply to  griff
February 14, 2021 12:02 pm

The simpleton that is griff makes yet another nonsense idiotic posting, so sad.

If you start pushing for building hydro dams without doing proper engineering, (you know, like taking account glacier calving) …

.. then yes, the AGENDA has caused this issue.

MarkW
Reply to  griff
February 14, 2021 3:12 pm

ONce again griff demonstrates that his only skill is getting everything wrong.
Nobody claimed that the hydro dams caused the collapse. What they failed to do was account for the possibility of the collapse.

How does the amount of hydro for green targets matter to the question at hand?

We are for well thought out and built dams. That you can’t tell the difference just serves to highlight your own mental deficiencies.

JohnM
February 14, 2021 1:09 am

Still no explanation as to how building dams downstream of the glacier has destabilised the glacier…..or destabilised the climate come to that. Mind you, if they had not been building that dam, then those building it would still be alive. But it still does not explain how their actions melted the glacier.

BobM
February 14, 2021 1:17 am

If you are building a dam for glacial meltwater, wouldn’t one of the issues to consider be the possibility of the glacier calving (collapsing) and causing a downstream tidal wave? This just seems like it should be a design consideration.

Paul of Alexandria
Reply to  BobM
February 14, 2021 6:13 am

I think that this is what happened, along with landslides from clearcutting. They had a water pulse that they couldn’t handle and the dam overflowed.

twobob
Reply to  BobM
February 14, 2021 6:14 am

It is not the wave that is the problem. it is the Hydro static pressure.
The the water is not compressible,so the collapse of the ice, into the water, is instantly felt at the dam. The wave will go over the top,the shock hits all of the dam.

On the outer Barcoo
Reply to  BobM
February 14, 2021 9:54 am

Melting glaciers do not calve. That is an oxymoron.

MarkW
Reply to  On the outer Barcoo
February 14, 2021 3:16 pm

Any glacier that has a termination point, can calve.

AntonyIndia
Reply to  BobM
February 14, 2021 9:47 pm

A land slide into a mountain valley (fjord like) lake creating a tsunami? No! that would take darling “Climate Change” out of the picture and we can’t have that.

William Haas
February 14, 2021 2:09 am

Climate change? The climate is changing so slowly that it takes networks of sophisticated sensors decades to even detect it. We must not mix up weather cycles which are part of the current climate from true climate change. We must also remember that climate change has been going on for eons. The climate change we are experiencing is caused by the sun and the oceans over which mankind has no control. I can imagine that the flooding that they experienced from the glacier is not that unexpected and the designers of the hydroelectric system should have taken that into account.

Bob boder
Reply to  William Haas
February 14, 2021 3:43 pm

Yes the change may be undetectable but all disasters are obviously caused by it.
Sarc off

Tom Abbott
Reply to  William Haas
February 15, 2021 5:28 am

“Climate change? The climate is changing so slowly that it takes networks of sophisticated sensors decades to even detect it. We must not mix up weather cycles which are part of the current climate from true climate change.”

Alarmists do that every day. On purpose. Calling it Climate change instead of Global Warming adds to the confusion over the issue of CO2 and the Earth’s atmosphere.

So we spend endless hours defining and redefining climate change.

Meanwhile, there’s still no evidence showing “Human-caused Global Warming leading to Climate Change”, is real, no matter what you call it.

It doesn't add up...
February 14, 2021 3:54 am

Except we know that plate tectonics and gravity was to blame. The plate tectonics created the mountains and dip angles of the strata that comprise them. Gravity then provided the force for the landslip that led to the rushing waters down the river.

2hotel9
February 14, 2021 4:00 am

“reckless dash for cheap green energy” That right there is funny! Building dams on rivers which historically flood on a routine basis has far more to do with it than climate change. Only human cause of this is stupidity.

It doesn't add up...
February 14, 2021 4:05 am

Of course, having shown that it was a major landslip down the side of a mountain that caused the event, they still like to try to blame climate change for that.

https://news.sky.com/story/uttarakhand-dam-disaster-what-caused-indias-deadly-flood-12214731

So how often does it melt in high summer at 5,600m? Charlatans.

Itdoesn't add up...
Reply to  It doesn't add up...
February 14, 2021 2:20 pm

I should add that the site of the alleged crack is on the North face of the mountain and would almost never have direct sunlight. The satellite images show it in deep shadow.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  It doesn't add up...
February 15, 2021 5:34 am

“So how often does it melt in high summer at 5,600m? Charlatans.”

Yes, and that’s assuming that India’s weather is hotter than normal due to Human-caused Global Warming/Climate Change, which it is not. India was just as warm in the Early Twentieth Century as it is today.

India chart:

comment image

John K. Sutherland
February 14, 2021 5:55 am

‘Cheap green’, doesn’t exist. It wold have been better if you’d said ‘hydro power’ throughout the article.

Jim G
Reply to  John K. Sutherland
February 14, 2021 10:18 am

…Cheap Green.

Because Expensive Green is so much better!

Bob boder
Reply to  John K. Sutherland
February 14, 2021 3:45 pm

Hydro is ussualy cheap and there for worth it. Don’t give a damn about the green part

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Bob boder
February 15, 2021 5:37 am

I bet the animals that get displaced/destroyed don’t like it.

The Indians should build nuclear reactors and leave the habitat of the animals alone as much as possible, which nuclear reactors will allow them to do.

Sara
February 14, 2021 6:07 am

“This has destabilized the ecosytem…”

Well, I did wonder how long it would take, that’s all.

This should be a lesson: Don’t mess with Mother Nature. She’s cranky and spiteful.

Very sad that so many people were victims of this disaster.

February 14, 2021 7:07 am

Bud ve deed nut noh dat dees vood happin.

ResourceGuy
February 14, 2021 7:51 am

It could also be a product of NIMBY in the more heavily populated areas.

On the outer Barcoo
February 14, 2021 10:03 am

The 1958 Lituya Bay tsunami had a height of 1720 ft (524m) … clearly a lesson not learnt.

Curious George
Reply to  On the outer Barcoo
February 14, 2021 12:45 pm

We MUST learn how to prevent earthquakes!

Andy Pattullo
February 14, 2021 10:50 am

“This has destabilised the ecosystem.”
Where exactly can I find this stable ecosystem. I have never heard of an ecosystem that doesn’t change. Building dams can have significant impacts that change an ecosystem, but that hardly compares to ice ages and interglacial, tropical cyclones, earthquakes, galactic impacts and mass extinctions which are all part of our lovely ecosystem and have been since well before humans emerged from the sea.

Maybe the problem here is that the small scale dams in narrow channels were not adequately designed or built to withstand predictable floods when glacial lakes drain suddenly.

ATheoK
February 14, 2021 12:15 pm

“after a glacier in the Himalayas collapsed.

The deluge, which smothered hydroelectric projects and killed hundreds of people,”

So, it is the fault of hydroelectric facilities because a glacier collapsed and the downstream torrent drowned people…

Just how would this situation be different if there were no dams along the river?
How far downriver would the glacier caused torrent have caused havoc?

India has built hundreds of dams and hydroelectric plants along its Himalayan rivers to conserve water supplies and build renewable energy sources. This has destabilised the ecosystem”

Dams tend to turn streams and rivers from dynamic watercourses into rather boring waterways…
So long as the dams are properly designed, anchored and constructed.

If India failed to properly design, anchor or construct their dams, it sure isn’t the climate’s fault!

It appears that the author is applying specious sophistry to twist cause and fault to blame climate for a natural weather event and hydroelectric plans for India.

An approach to writing that implies the author is an activist against hydroelectric energy and the industry it fosters.

Curious George
Reply to  ATheoK
February 14, 2021 1:00 pm

Insufficient data .. I assume that the glacier collapsed into a reservoir, creating a huge wave. In 1963 in Italy a mountain collapsed into a newly built Vajont reservoir. The wave crested the dam at about 700 ft. The dam still stands, but the wave killed some 2,000 people downstream.

MarkW
Reply to  ATheoK
February 14, 2021 3:24 pm

When a dam collapses, all the water that was stored behind the dam is added to the pulse from the collapse of the glacial lake, resulting in a larger pulse of water heading downstream.

rah
February 14, 2021 1:05 pm

The amount of ice in the Himalayan range is only exceeded by that at the two poles. So much ice that some have called that mountain range “the third pole”.

Curious George
Reply to  rah
February 14, 2021 1:22 pm

How about Greenland?

rah
Reply to  Curious George
February 14, 2021 3:41 pm

Please look up a map showing
the Arctic Circle. You will find that all but the southern 1/4 of Greenland is in it.

Curious George
Reply to  rah
February 14, 2021 3:49 pm

My apologies. I did not know that the pole was everything inside the Arctic Circle.

rah
Reply to  Curious George
February 14, 2021 4:07 pm

So you thought I was referring to only the specific points of y 90N and 0E for the North Pole and -90N and 0E for the south pole?

Fran
February 14, 2021 2:01 pm

This journalist seems to be against anything that alters what is ‘natural’. I hope he does not have a vegetable garden or even some flowers in his own home, as that is altering the ‘natural’ ecosystem. Why should India not use hydropower where it is available. This looks more like a tragic accident caused by a mega rock fall. If it could have been predicted, other than by decrying Indian engineering, then criticism would be rational.

goldminor
February 14, 2021 3:39 pm

I watched a video on this the other day. One Indian scientist appeared to have a good explanation for why the collapse took place, but then inevitably ends up mentioning climate change as well. He starts off by describing how there were 4 days in a row of well above average snows in these mountains which was then followed by above average warmth afterwards. He states that this was enough warmth to get the freshly fallen powder snow to melt. This started water flows down the slopes which further quickly impacted the fresh snow, and that led to the final collapse of that section of the glacier.

There was also more to this than just the glacier breaking as a significant mass of rock also went down in the collapse. So he appeared to have a good grasp of what happened, but at the end he brings up climate change. One fact which seems to have escaped his attention is that the Himalayas have had some warmer than average winters across the range over the last several years. That caught my attention especially during this fall/winter season as it has only been recently where the purple color range which depicts the coldest temps have emerged only in the very west end of the range, and only in limited areas.

Now looking back at saved pics from earthnull I see that overall the Himalayas have not had the deeper cold spells which can be seen in years prior to 2016 where large areas of the range went into minus temps (purple to deep purple). Here is a current look. … https://earth.nullschool.net/#current/wind/surface/level/overlay=temp/orthographic=92.84,40.07,672/loc=94.312,32.534

earth    India Cooling.. 2 12 21.png
Tom Abbott
Reply to  goldminor
February 15, 2021 5:57 am

“I watched a video on this the other day. One Indian scientist appeared to have a good explanation for why the collapse took place, but then inevitably ends up mentioning climate change as well. He starts off by describing how there were 4 days in a row of well above average snows in these mountains which was then followed by above average warmth afterwards. He states that this was enough warmth to get the freshly fallen powder snow to melt. This started water flows down the slopes which further quickly impacted the fresh snow, and that led to the final collapse of that section of the glacier.”

So, apparently, to this Indian scientist, a couple of days of warm weather is evidence of Human-caused Climate Change.

He is easily satisfied. It’s amazing: All these people operating on the same false assumption. They form their whole lives around a false assumption. I suppose that is normal human behavior for a lot of people, maybe even most people, but in the case of Human-caused Climate Change, it is mass delusion on a world-wide scale.

The Climategate Charlatans have scammed the whole world, and their scam causes human beings to think and do very ridiculous and harmful things to themselves (mental illness and bankruptcy) and the environment (build dams/windmills/solar panels when they don’t have to do so).

It’s a crazy, mixed-up world.

The good news is not everyone is crazy.

%d bloggers like this: