Friday, May 29, 2009

Climate change happening in Tibet

Tibet is among areas on our planet that are particularly sensitive to global warming and increased temperatures. If you look at the currently available data Tibet has experienced an average temperature rise of 0.32 degrees Celsius every decade since the measurements started back in 1961. Just for comparison China's average temperature rise was 0.05-0.08 degrees Celsius every decade, significantly smaller than Tibet. Tibet looks to be really feeling "the global warming heat".

Such tremendous temperature increase is causing rapid glaciers melting. Experts believe that if such warming trend continues millions of people in western China are likely to face floods in the short term and drought in the long run. Tibetan glaciers are melting at an alarming rate of somewhere around 7 % annually, and China's government still hasn't done anything to stop this negative trend.

People are not the only ones in jeopardy, Tibet's unique and rich biodiversity is also at stake with many plants and animals likely to go extinct if current global warming trend continues. China is still more talking that actually doing something to protect environment on Tibet, and we are yet to see something really environmentally positive happening in Tibet.

China still believes how the best thing for Tibet is the controversial "Tibet railway" that should boost economic development to ethnically distinct Tibet. But if global warming continues to strike Tibet at this pace it will melt the permafrost on which the tracks are built, and there won't be any railway. Many environmentalist believe that this railway is likely to cause variety of different environmental problems, especially if Tibet's economy starts showing serious signs of progress. When there's struggle between economy and ecology, ecology is always losing, and Tibet is unlikely to become exception.

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