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Tibetan exiles express concern on climate change in Dharamsala, Copenhagen

December 15, 2009

Phayul [Sunday, December 13, 2009 22:53]

Dharamsala, Dec 13 – As leaders of 192 countries discuss ways to save
the earth from climate change at the UN Climate Action meet in Danish
capital Copenhagen, the exile Tibetans Saturday held a panel discussion
on “climate change and Tibet”.

Organized by the Tibetan Women’s Association, Students for a Free Tibet
and the Gu Chu Sum movement, the panel discussion was attended by local
Tibetans, government officials and foreigners. Speaking at the
discussion were Ms. Dhondup Dolma Bhartso, Under Secretary at the
Environment and Development Desk of the exile Tibetan government, and
Tsering Yankey, Director of the Tesi Environmental Awareness Movement.

The speakers expressed their concerns over the rising impact of global
warming on Climate change, and asked the audience to work towards
protecting the earth from the menace of climate change. “Tibet is called
the Earth's Third Pole by scientists because only the North and South
poles hold more glacially stored freshwater. The Tibetan Plateau is
undergoing climate change twice as fast as the rest of the world,” noted
Tsering Yankey.

Yankey said that every individual has a role to play in securing a safe
earth for future generations. “‘By doing small things locally, we can
make a difference. Everybody should know about climate change to make a
difference. Turning off electricity, using local transport, using less
water, you know these kind of things are all what we can do as a general
public to combat climate change,” she said.

Dhondup Dolma Bhartso expressed her worries that the Tibetan Plateau is
very vital for stopping global warming. “Glacier meltdown across Tibet
is disrupting downstream water supplies, threatening the sustainable
livelihoods of Tibetan nomads and villages, and putting at risk more
than one billion downstream peoples and communities across south and
east Asia,” she warned.

Meanwhile, a Tibetan contingent from Dharamsala comprising of government
officials, NGO activists, and environment workers is currently in
Copenhagen as part of the Tibet-Third Pole, a campaign to create
awareness about the Tibetan plateau’s significance in checking climate

Tibet Third Pole consists of Tibetan, Chinese, and western scientists,
development specialists, campaigners, and more than 170 Tibet Support
Groups around the world. The group has been campaigning throughout the
run-up to the UN's climate change conference in Copenhagen, lobbying at
the UN's climate-change preparatory conferences in order to influence
the climate treaty on Tibet's behalf.

A report The Impacts of Climate Change on the Tibetan
Plateau: A Synthesis of Recent Science And Tibetan Research published by
the exile Tibetan government's Environment and Development Desk was
launched on December 10.

A joint Tibetan and Western multi-disciplinary team seeks to bring the
environmental crisis in Tibet and the fate of Tibet's nomads to the
attention of negotiators, the media and the general public at the UN meet.
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