China prepares environmental action for Tibet

Mountain Protection

Chinese officials have announced a new “ecological security” plan for Tibet, which has the fastest rate of global warming in the world.

Climbers who visit Tibet see the most visible sign of global warming in the region: the shrinking glaciers of Mount Everest. The glaciers have receded by 170 metres over the past decade. Chinese scientists have concluded that the average annual temperature in Tibet is increasing by 0.3 degrees Celsius every 10 years – the fastest rate in the world.

According to the Reuters news agency, Chinese environment officials have prepared a plan to resolve the problems caused by climate change, population growth, overgrazing and pollution.

“In recent years the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau has felt the effects of global warming and our environment has certainly experienced changes,” said Zhang Yongze, director general of the region’s environmental protection bureau. “Our Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is actually the most direct victim of global warming.”

The new “ecological security” plan, which initially could cost 10 billion yuan ($1.5 billion), will soon be presented to the Chinese government and could be announced by the end of the year.

The actions listed in the plan are to turn grasslands into protected forests, restrict grazing, create “green” jobs for Tibetans and develop more hydro-electric power stations. Hydro power is opposed by some conservationists, as it would mean building power stations on the rivers of Tibet.

“The solution to problems like global warming is out of our hands, but this document will give us a framework to work in,” Zhang said.

Go to the Reuters website to read the full article by Chris Buckley.