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09:23 Mar 05 2010

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Climate change hurting Tibet
09:20, March 05, 2010  


The impact of global warming is affecting the ecological environment of Southwest China's Tibet autonomous region, accelerating glacial shrinkage, reducing snow and increasing land desertification, officials said. (Photo: China Daily)


The impact of global warming is affecting the ecological environment of Southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, accelerating glacial shrinkage, reducing snow and increasing land desertification, officials said.

"Global climate change has made Tibet's environment much more fragile than before," Hao Peng, vice-chairman of the Tibet autonomous regional government, told China Daily on Tuesday.

"Economic and social development is out of the question for Tibet if we do not have a pleasant ecological environment."

The autonomous region, located on the Qinghai-Tibet plateau, with an average altitude above 4,000 meters, is more sensitive to temperature changes than other places, as greenhouse gas tends to affect higher altitudes, he said.

The average temperature in Tibet has risen by 0.32 degrees centigrade every decade since 1961, quicker than the national and global warming rates, according to the China Meteorological Administration.

"Given its underdeveloped industry, Tibet's own carbon emissions are very low and the deteriorating environment is mainly due to global climate change," Hao said.

The central and local governments have been more focused on environmental protection and sustainable development in Tibet in recent years.

The local government has limited the development of steel, paper, chemical and other heavy polluting industries in Tibet.
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