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Climate Change Conference

The Dalai Lama. The Tibetan Plateau needs to be protected from climate change

The Dalai Lama called for action to save the Tibetan Plateau from global warming and melting ice: “It is the Third Pole”.

Two thirds of the glaciers of the Tibetan Plateau could melt for good do to climate change by 2050. The fourteenth Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso asked the leaders of almost 200 countries that will meet in Paris during COP21, the UN Conference of the Parties on climate, to take action in order to save the place hosting the largest amount of ice (therefore, water) outside the North and South Pole. Before him, Pope Francis and Muslim leaders urged to fight against climate change.

 

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The fourteenth Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso © Win McNamee/Getty Images

 

The Tibetan Plateau has experienced an increase in average temperature of 1.3°C over the past 50 years, i.e. three times the global average, said the Dalai Lama in a statement. Its disappearance would drastically limit water availability, currently supporting about 1.3 billion people.

 

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The Tibetan Plateau

 

“The Tibetan Plateau needs to be protected, not just for Tibetans but for the environmental health and sustainability of the entire world,” said the Dalai Lama, exiled Buddhist leader. Protecting it is as vital as protecting the Arctic or the Antarctic, it is the “Third Pole”. According to the Tibetan government-in-exile, 80% of the ice of the Plateau has disappeared in the past 50 years, resulting in an increase in CO2 emissions in the atmosphere, i.e. the carbon previously stored in permafrost, the permanently frozen subsoil. According to estimates, if permafrost completely melts, it could release up to 12.3 billion tons of greenhouse gases.

 

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The Tibetan Plateau

 

COP21 aims to reach a global agreement that goes beyond the Kyoto Protocol and that is able to keep the average global temperature increase below 2°C. It represents an important goal to stem problems climate change is causing, and an essential target to avoid irreversible consequences.

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