From the snowy plateaus of Tibet to the mountain gorges of China’s Yunnan province and beyond to the jungled borders of Myanmar, Thailand, Laos and down to the plains of Cambodia and paddy fields of Vietnam – the Mekong River is of crucial importance to tens of millions of people.
Richard Cronin, a research fellow and former director of the Southeast Asian program at the Stimson Center, said he was not hopeful that China would cease its own dam building projects or has any intention of encouraging lower Mekong countries to pursue renewable sources of energy.
“I think that what China is saying is it will address pollution for its own reasons and for its own interest,” he said.
Brian Eyler, deputy director of the Southeast Asian Program at the Stimson Center, and moderator of the discussion, and several others noted that Laos appeared to rethinking it previous hydropower development path, which was focused squarely on becoming the “battery of Southeast Asia.”
Courtney Weatherby, research associate for the Southeast Asia Program, Stimson Center, told the discussion that requests are now being received from Laos seeking assistance with ways to maximize dam efficiency.
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