News and Views on Tibet

ICT launches report on Tibet climate crisis at COP21

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By Tenzin Monlam

DHARAMSHALA December 9: The International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) on Tuesday launched a new report on the current climate crisis in Tibet, ‘Blue gold from the highest plateau: Tibet’s water and global climate change’, in Paris coinciding with COP21. The report criticizes China’s environmental policies that are resulting in severe consequences on the plateau and the world at large.

The report by the Washington DC based Tibet advocacy group highlights the water diversion, nomadic resettlement, excessive mining, urbanization, infrastructure construction and intensified militarization and warming temperatures that create an ‘ecological shift’ in Tibet.

“ICT’s new report reveals why Tibet matters to all of us, although few people know of its significance, and provides a roadmap for a way forward for the urgent task of conserving the plateau and its ‘blue gold’ that is in the interests of China and the rest of the world as well as the Tibetan people,” said Matteo Mecacci, President of ICT.

Matteo said that both the Dalai Lama and the Beijing leadership have expressed concerns about the scale of the climate crisis in Tibet, also known as the earth’s ‘Third Pole’, because it contains the biggest reserves of freshwater outside the Arctic and Antarctic.

“Tibet’s changing climate not only affects the monsoon in Asia, but also weather in Europe. As the source of most of Asia’s major rivers, including the Yangtze, the Mekong and the Brahmaputra, Tibet’s fragile ecology is of critical importance to hundreds of millions of people in the water-dependent societies downstream,” he said.

Richard Gere, Chairman of ICT said the Chinese leadership has acknowledged at the highest levels the scale of the environmental crisis it faces. “As increasing numbers of Chinese environmentalists and experts have made clear, this must include conserving the Tibetan plateau, which obviously include dialogue and genuine participation of the Tibetan people,” Gere said.

He added that the report contains detailed suggestions on how genuine participation of Tibetans can be achieved and it also demonstrates that a new approach is urgently needed.

Minister of Information and International Relations (Kalon) Dicki Chhoyang on Tuesday chaired a panel discussion organized by CTA in Paris. The panel included French environmentalist and Buddhist scholar Rev Matthieu Ricard, former environment minister of Czech Republic Martin Bursik, Environment researcher Tenzin Norbu, and environment Research Fellow at the TPI Tempa Gyaltsen.

As part of the ongoing climate campaign of CTA to urge the UN and world leaders, the panelists stated the importance and the need for international intervention to protect the plateau.

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