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Keywords:

  • China;
  • Reservoir;
  • Greenhouse gas;
  • Methane;
  • Carbon dioxide

Hydroelectricity has typically been regarded as a green energy source, but reservoirs created for its generation emit greenhouse gases (GHGs) just as natural lakes and rivers do. The role of reservoirs in GHG emissions has been overlooked. Substantial amounts of methane (CH4) are emitted from reservoir surfaces every year, which account for about 20% of the total CH4 emission from inland waters. GHG emissions (transferred into carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalents) from some tropical reservoirs even exceed CO2 emissions from thermal power plants if the same amount of electricity is generated.