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Boletim do Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi. Ciências Humanas

Print version ISSN 1981-8122


BECKER, Bertha Koiffmann. Reflections on hydroelectric dams in the Amazon: water, energy and development. Bol. Mus. Para. Emílio Goeldi. Ciênc. hum. [online]. 2012, vol.7, n.3, pp.783-790. ISSN 1981-8122.

The essay discusses the deployment of hydroelectric dams in the Amazon having as a starting point the relations between water and hydropower consumption at different scales of analyses. So, if all parts of the world are affected by global processes, they are not in the same way. The global scale is dominated by the apocalyptic discourse of increasing water scarcity and global warming, requiring the reduction of emissions of greenhouse gases through the use of renewable energy and new technologies. On a Brazilian national scale, the problems are, rather, how to manage the abundance of water with social and territorial justice, and how to stop the loss of 20% of the electricity produced. Finally, it is at the regional scale - in the Amazon - that major problems arise: i) the biggest paradox between the abundance of water and social inaccessibility to this resource; ii) most of the dams planned for the country will be built there, with the risk of negative impacts already known; iii) the obligation of building sluices at all the proposed dams, suggested by the industrial sector in name of the rivers navigation, will serve, in fact, to export commodities produced in the Brazilian central region. An ethical question is, therefore, posed to society and to Brazilian government: are really needed so many hydroelectric dams in the Amazon?

Keywords : Amazon; Hydroelectric dams; Water; Electric power; Development.

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