CM – China’s stance on climate change is being undermined by destructive policies in Tibet


China’s relentless exploitation of natural resources in Tibet – deforestation, mining and dam construction – has undermined Tibetan traditions and destroyed an ecosystem that supports a third of humanity as the source of Asia’s major rivers, Tibetans and environmentalists said on the eve of a UN Climate summit took place.

When the heads of state and government of the world met for the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, the Dalai Lama in an appeal emphasized the role of Tibetan ecology and the global climate crisis “more Paying attention « to the importance of the most populous continent.

 » At least in Asia, Tibet is the ultimate source of water, « the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader said in a video message prior to the meeting in Glasgow, which was scheduled for two weeks on Sunday will open.

“All major rivers of Pakistan’s Indus, India’s Ganges and Brahmaputra, China’s Yellow River and Vietnam’s Mekong are draining Tibet, « remarked the 86-year-old Buddhist monk.

The Dalai Lama received the Nobel Peace Prize for embodying the Tibetans’ striving for self-determination, human rights and the preservation of their beliefs and their culture under the decades of Beijing rule – problems, which have largely deteriorated since receiving the award in 1989.

“We should pay more attention to preserving the ecology of Tibet. This is not only in the interests of 6-7 million Tibetans, but [all] of the people in the region, ”added the Dalai Lama.

Many of the 1.4 billion people in China, India’s slightly smaller but faster growing Population of 1.3 billion, 175 million Southeast Asians and hundreds of millions of Pakistani and Bangladeshi people depend on water from rivers that originate in the Himalayas.

A woman walks in Gongga County, City, during a government-organized tour Lhoka, near Lhasa, Tibet Autonomous Region, through a specially built village for Tibetans who were relocated from high places as part of a poverty reduction program the authorities called it. China, October 14, 2020 (Reuters)

The Himalaya, a sparsely populated mountain range that separates the plains of the Indian subcontinent from the Tibetan highlands, is referred to by travel writers as the « roof of the world ».

Scientists call the vast mountain region the « Third Pole » because of the global importance of its glacier ice – a quarter of it has been lost since 1970, with more glaciers threatened to disappear by 2100.

The global effects of these changes make it « even more important to discuss the ecology of Tibet at the Glasgow summit », says Mirza Rahman, a PhD student in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati.

Chinese President Xi Jinping does not join his US counterpart Joe Biden and other world leaders in Glasgow, and Beijing’s submission to COP26 became Described by analysts as a revision of last year’s targets to reduce CO2 emissions – fueled by Xi’s concern about one himself Slowing economy.

But environmentalists and human rights groups say Xi and China must not be let off the hook in Glasgow, and Beijing’s efforts to lead the way in the fight against climate change must be given its status as the world’s largest Gases and the policies followed in Tibet are considered to be emitters of greenhouse effects.

“If China actually says, ‘We will take a leading role in global climate management’, we basically have to ask ourselves, ‘What are the interventions that they are doing in Tibet? ‘ »said researcher Rahman.

China’s policies » need serious review « and recognition of the links between environmental protection, sustainable livelihoods and human rights, said the Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) / p> “China’s policy responses to mitigating and adapting to climate change undermine the sustainable E Development and the traditional livelihoods on the Tibetan plateau ”, states a recently published report by the advocacy group.

“ The resettlement and resettlement of nomadic shepherds from the highlands to heavily monitored outskirts means an end to the collective ownership of upper pastures as common Pool resources managed by common decision-making, « it said.

The » Unsustainable Futures « report urges COP26 delegates to focus on » the huge gap between China’s rhetoric and its actual plans to build many more coal-fired power plants « and other development programs.

Days before Glasgow, the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) advocacy group reminded delegates that Tibet is warming two to four times faster than the global average, melting glaciers and permafrost is accelerating, and the Desertification worsens, leading to the loss of a major one World leads carbon sink.

China usually ignores or rejects reports from Tibetan groups that Beijing views Beijing as separatists funded by foreign enemies to destabilize the region, but activists say recent UN reports are being heeded must.

In August, a key report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) found that greenhouse gas emissions must be cut by at least half this decade to make the worst effects of climate change, such as extreme weather conditions, irreversible Ecosystem changes, loss of life and economic hardship.

Tibetans refer to the 2019 version of the IPPC report published at the UN Climate Change Conference in New York, which contained a litany of apocalyptic projections over Tibet.

Lakes west of the Tanggula Mountains in the central part of the Tibetan plateau reflect Verä changes partly caused by the retreat of glaciers. The two largest lakes – Chibzhang Co and Dorsoidong Co – have grown larger as the glaciers have shrunk. (Some differences between the pictures are due to changes in the snow cover). The two lakes have different colors in the 1987 photo because they were separated by a strip of land and had two sources of meltwater. The lakes merged in the mid-2000s when rising water flooded the strip of land. According to a team of researchers, the area of ​​the lakes grew by 23 percent between 1976 and 2017. (NASA)

The 2019 report identified the Tibetan Plateau as one of the high altitude regions of the earth warming three times as fast as the rest of the planet, with regional temperature rises between 3.5 and 6 degrees Celsius by 2100. Warming will also thaw and break down the permafrost of Tibet, threaten plants and animals that are vital to the ecosystem and destroy traditional livelihoods.

“Despite the fragility of the high altitude ecosystem and the threats voiced by the IPCC, China has intensified infrastructure construction throughout Tibet in order to further open up the landscape and promote Tibet’s natural resources. These projects include a network of strategic railway lines as well as large dam and hydropower projects, the effects of which are likely to be irreversible, ”said ICT after the 2019 report.

For Palmo Tenzin, lawyer and researcher at ICT in Germany, who on Glasgow meeting, the daily struggles of the Tibetans under China’s rule can be closely linked to the major climate threats, and their traditional management of the country should be investigated fight, but also as people with unique and valuable insights into what a sustainable relationship between humans and the environment can look like, « he told RFA.

 » As more and more people recognize the need to protect our planet, we hope to find a receptive audience at COP26, « added Tenzin.

Or as the Dalai Lama formuli erte: “Global warming is pretty serious. We should pay more attention. ”

Reported by Praise for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Tenzin Dickyi. Written in English by Joshua Lipes.

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