CTA gears to push Tibet’s climate on COP 21 agenda

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DHARAMSHALA, Oct.21: The Central Tibetan Administration on Tuesday launched its campaign to push the agenda of Tibet’s climate on the United Nation’s COP 21 (Conference of Parties) meeting to be held in Paris in December.

The Department of Information and International Relations Kalon Dicky Choeyang chronicled the current situation of Tibet’s environmental and climatic problems under three main dangers – rise in temperature, retreating glacial mass and degradation of permafrost – besides other concerns such as the desertification and degradation of grasslands.

The campaign has created platforms such as, a thunderclap account, roof of the world photo challenge and the People’s Climate March which takes place on 29 November, ahead of global climate change talks in Paris. “We hope to mobilize the civil society and create awareness. Solutions to the climate crisis exist. What is needed is political will and action,” she said at a press conference to launch the campaign.

In a recorded message for this initiative, the Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama said, “Despite the technological advances and development, there has been a lot of human waste problems created by the people. So those problems created by human beings, logically we humans have the responsibility to reduce these problems and finally eliminate these problems”. The 80-year-old Tibetan leader said that the environmental and climate woes can not be tackled by “praying to god or Buddha”.

His Holiness added that the issue is “not political matter or religious matter but these are ultimately survival of humanity”.

The incumbent Sikyong Lobsang Sangay equated the importance of Tibet’s eco-system stretching the length of the Himalayan belt to that of the Brazilian rainforests, both, as scientists are suggesting, to be acting as catalyst to the global climate.

Sangay noted, “Tibetans must have a say on what happens to their land. Tibetan nomads are the expert custodians of the alpine pastures and their knowledge and experience must be recognized. And China’s recently introduced Environment Protection Law must be used as a legal framework to hold the Chinese government to account. This law should be fairly and rigorously implemented in Tibet.”

The campaign also recognizes the three main stakeholders, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Chinese government and the international communities and governments to be the change makers in the context.

Tibet’s climatic importance has for long been understated considering it is deemed the ‘third pole’ for contributing largely to the global climate, holding the largest reservoir of fresh water catering to one third of the global population and its influence on the timing and intensity of the monsoon in the region. Recently, Scientists linked heat waves in Europe to the melting of glacial mass on the Tibetan plateau.