China’s irresponsible attitude toward climate crisis threatens Tibet with water scarcity

3 September, 2022 | Pranay Lad

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China’s unlawful seizure of Tibet territory has caused the nation to lose its character and face significant deterioration in a variety of sectors. The climatic catastrophe in Tibet has worse...

China’s unlawful seizure of Tibet territory has caused the nation to lose its character and face significant deterioration in a variety of sectors. The climatic catastrophe in Tibet has worsened over time and has become a persistent source of concern.

Tibet was historically a place where people’s livelihoods were mostly focused on farming, with animal husbandry and the nomadic lifestyle also being widespread. However, severe climate change has left the Tibetan area vulnerable, and ice glaciers are melting at an alarming rate under China’s control.

Tibet’s climatic issue must be at the top of China’s list of concerns and concerns since they claim ownership of the territory, but China has utilised Tibet, its people, and its soil for their own prosperity, whether social or economic.

Tibet is renowned as the “top of the globe,” as well as the “water tower of Asia” at times. According to Tibet Press, it is home to the world’s third largest ice water source and delivers water to about 2 billion Asians through its river sources.

However, the nation’s alarming rate of developing climate disasters is causing concern for its future.

The most concerning issue is that the severe changes in the ecology would have an impact on other sectors like as agriculture and water, affecting the livelihoods of those who rely on Tibet for their water resources. The Tibetan plateau is expected to lose a significant amount of water owing to global warming this century.

There have also been warnings issued about how the intensity of climate change would result in a shift in hotspots. The reservoirs of the Tibetan Plateau, which encompass large sections of southern China and northern India, are entirely dependent on the monsoon for water and today provide and meet the needs of two billion people.

Scientists, on the other hand, are having difficulty predicting how the region’s water storage would be affected by rising temperatures and frequent shifts in weather patterns caused by climate change.

This is mostly due to the difficult topography of the Tibetan plateau. Over the last two decades, researchers in China and the United States have employed satellite-based observations to determine the net change in water and ice mass.

According to Tibet Press, the Tibetan Plateau has lost over 10 billion tonnes of water each year since 2002 due to growing changes in the warm and rainy environment.

According to a study conducted by academics in China and the United States, changes in water storage across the plateau appeared to have occurred under a middle-of-the-road emissions scenario in which carbon pollution levels remained about at current levels before progressively declining after 2050.

Two river basins have been especially identified as the most susceptible of all water supplies. The Amu Darya, Central Asia’s greatest river, is losing water at a rate that might be equivalent to 119% of present demand.

Communities that rely on the Indus basement for water supply may also suffer a significant loss similar to 79% of present demand.

The expected deficit will occur gradually, but the researchers and authors have recommended governments to consider alternative water supply alternatives, which may include increased groundwater extraction.

Michael Mann, director of the Penn Centre for Science, Sustainability, and the Media, has indicated that “significant reductions in carbon emissions over the next decade” will aid in the limiting and mitigation of the rapidly growing global warming. He also suggested that this will reduce the “predicted collapse of the Tibetan Plateau water towers.”

The rivers have been dammed and several hydro projects have altered the flow of the rivers, causing concern for the neighbouring Asian nations who rely on them for water, according to Tibet Press.

However, China, the world’s largest carbon dioxide emitter, is making no attempts to curb greenhouse gas emissions or accept responsibility for its reckless acts that are contributing to a climate disaster in Tibet and throughout the world.

According to media soures, China surpassed the United States in yearly emissions in 2006 and has been the world’s largest emitter ever since. China’s carbon emissions quadrupled between 2000 and 2019. Meanwhile, according to public data, the United States’ carbon emissions have decreased marginally over the last decade.

According to estimates revealed during the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow in 2021, the country emits roughly 30% of the carbon dioxide produced globally by human activity.

According to the International Energy Agency, China released 9.9 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2019. The United States emitted 4.7 billion tonnes that year. According to the Global Carbon Atlas, the statistics for China and the United States in 2019 were 10.5 billion tonnes and 5.2 billion tonnes, respectively.

Human activities or mining of fossil fuels and oils, deforestation, and emissions from power plants and autos all contribute to the development of such climatic crises. In a word, Tibet’s country has been drained of its riches and purity.

The climate catastrophe is a subject that requires immediate action since the effects are now being felt and those that will occur in the future are inescapable.

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