Dharamsala: The Tibetan plateau is deteriorating owing to the Chinese government’s policies of re-shaping the landscape of Earth’s highest and largest plateau, the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT), a global advocacy group, said on Wednesday.
The report titled ‘Blue gold from the highest plateau: Tibet’s water and global climate change’ was released in Paris on the sidelines of the Climate Change Summit on Tuesday.
“As talks began in Paris, both the Dalai Lama and the Beijing leadership have expressed alarm about the scale of the environmental crisis in Tibet, the roof of the world,” ICT president Matteo Mecacci said in a statement posted on the Central Tibetan Administration web site.
Known as Earth’s ‘Third Pole’, because it contains the biggest reserves of freshwater outside the Arctic and Antarctic, Tibet’s changing climate not only affects the monsoon in Asia, but also weather in Europe, he said.
As the source of most of Asia’s major rivers, including the Yangtze, the Mekong and the Brahmaputra, Tibet’s fragile ecology is of critical importance to hundreds of millions of people in the water-dependent societies downstream, Mecacci said.
“ICT’s new report reveals why Tibet matters to all of us although few people know of its significance. It provides a roadmap for a way forward for the urgent task of conserving the plateau,” he said.
ICT chairman and Hollywood actor Richard Gere said: “The Chinese leadership has acknowledged at the highest levels the scale of the environmental crisis it faces.”
“As increasing numbers of Chinese environmentalists and experts have made clear, this must include conserving the Tibetan plateau, which obviously includes dialogue and genuine participation of the Tibetan people,” said Gere, who is considered one of the Dalai Lama’s most high-profile followers.
The report, besides other factors, documents the devastating impact of large-scale mining in copper, gold, silver, chromium and lithium, signaling the remote region’s integration into the Chinese industrial economy and the high risks and concerns downstream due to China’s mammoth river water diversion schemes.