| NEW DELHI
NEW DELHI Oct 20 Tibet's exiled leaders,
including the Dalai Lama, said on Tuesday two-thirds of the
glaciers in their mountain homeland may disappear by 2050
because of climate change and demanded a stake in international
climate talks later this year.
The Tibetan plateau, which has the largest store of ice
outside the North and South Pole, has experienced rising
temperatures of 1.3 Celsius over the past five decades, three
times the global average, the leadership said in a statement.
Tibet, with an average altitude of over 4,000 metres (13,125
ft) is particularly vulnerable to the impact of climate change.
Warming is already melting glaciers that are the source of water
in rivers that help support about 1.3 billion people.
"The Tibetan Plateau needs to be protected, not just for
Tibetans but for the environmental health and sustainability of
the entire world," the Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled Buddhist
"As vital as the Arctic and Antarctic, it is the Third
Pole," he said in the statement issued from the Indian hill
station of Dharamsala, where the Tibetan government-in-exile has
been based since the Dalai Lama fled his homeland in 1959.
Close to 200 countries will meet in Paris in December to try
to hammer out a deal to slow man-made climate change by aiming
to keep temperatures below a ceiling of 2 degrees Celsius above
World leaders are hoping for a successor to the Kyoto
Protocol after 2009 climate talks in Copenhagen ended in
disappointment due to differences between the United States and
Tibet's leaders said they want an effective climate change
agreement and also want to have a say in the talks.
About 80 percent of the ice in Tibet has retreated in the
past 50 years, according to the government-in-exile.
With the rapidly melting permafrost, 12,300 million tons of
carbon could be released into the air, further exacerbating the
problems of global warming, they said.
(Editing by Sanjeev Miglani and Paul Tait)