CLIMATE CHANGE

Source: EDD Publication on Climate Change.

Tibet is in trouble, as climate change is now happening faster than in many areas, with multiple impacts on human livelihoods, rangeland degradation, desertification, loss of glaciers and more. Trouble in Tibet means trouble down stream and downwind from Tibet, across Asia, where Tibetan rivers flow and Tibetan climate generates and regulates monsoon rains over Asia.

The inter-governmental panel on Climate Change rightly treats Tibet seperately, since the plateau is close to 2% of the land surface of our planet; and is a huge island in the sky, between 4-8 kilometres above sea level, exerting a profound impact on Asia,even on the north Pacific. So, the science says.

These are good reasons for Tibet, until now a net sequester of carbon, to attract worldwide attention. Though cold, Tibet also heats quickly in spring and summer, diverting the jet stream, establishing an intense low that draws monsoon clouds deep inland, into the heart of Eurasia. The Tibetan Climate is alpine and desiccating, yet in places also humid and even subtropical where the Indian Monsoon penetrates the mighty Himalayas. For all these reasons, the glaciers, snow peaks, innumerable rivers,lakes,forest and wetlands of Tibet have long provided major environmental services to Asia, from Pakistan to Vietnam to northen China. Tibetans did almost nothing to diminish those environmental services. There was almost no Tibetan industrialization,daming of rivers,draining of wetlands, fishing and hunting of wildlife. Tibet remained unfenced; its grasslands intact, its cold climate able to hold enormous amounts of organic carbon in the soil. The human population used land extensively and lightly, a mobile culture with its herds and a deep knowledge of how to sustain the grasslands with light touch, by moving on to allow the hardy grasses and the sedges of the alpine meadows regrow.

Now,Tibet is fast moving from being a net sequester of carbon to becoming a net emitter and it simply because of the direct human intervention in Tibet.

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