Climate Change in Tibet has become a topic for debate in recent times. His Holiness the Dalai Lama and most recently Dr. Lobsang Sangay, the President of Central Tibetan Administration have expressed their concerns about Tibet’s climate change. Speaking to a gathering at University of Otago, New Zealand, the Tibetan PM said that it is one of the biggest challenges before Tibet. However, to dismiss it as a regional challenge will be akin to just looking at the tip of the iceberg.
The Prime Minister met members of the Dhargyey Buddhist Center as well. Speaking further he said, “”We are the water tower of Asia. ”Hence Tibet is not just an issue for 6million Tibetans, it is also an issue for the whole world.”
Tibet’s fragility is of particular concern as the region is KEY to water security of Asia. Lives and livelihoods of millions of people directly depend on the rivers originating from Tibet. Rapidly rising temperatures pose a threat to glaciers all over the world leading to water level rise in coastal areas. It shall be pertinent to mention here that more than 50 percent population of the world lives within 200 kilometers from the coastline.
China has been upgrading the infrastructure in this fragile region which is very resourceful. The big dam projects in Tibet pose a threat to the fragile ecological balance of the region. China has been blindly pursuing its nefarious designs in the region for plethora of reasons. Being the upper riparian state of many big rivers of the region, it has pursued many big and small dam projects to pressurize the lower riparian countries of South and South East Asia.
Perhaps this is a time when practical and real autonomy for Tibet becomes all the more relevant as Tibetans know their region better and are the first to be affected from climate change.
Tibet is very important for the world and hence China must not be allowed to unilaterally impose its will on the people of the region and use it as a bargaining tool to pressurize other countries. Tibet shall be declared under a special category and must enjoy a certain International status. In our view Tibet and Climate Change should be interlinked more closely.