The impact of climate change on the Tibetan plateau is not just a regional but a global issue. The water security of hundreds of millions of people depends on the rivers originating from Tibet, and the impact on Tibet’s landscape and its natural resources due to climate warming will threaten not only the future food security of many nations but also their development.

In this age of climate change, Tibetans and their centuries-old knowledge of the Tibetan environment need to be involved in all aspects of restoration and stewardship of the ecosystems and ecosystem services of the Tibetan Plateau.

The 14th Dalai Lama has stressed the importance of raising awareness about the crisis in Tibet, and the important role played by both Chinese scientists and Tibetan people living on the land. Tibet is central to a global climate change solution.

Tibet Third Pole: #ClimateAction Solutions 

  • An increase in country commitments to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, in line with an international goal of limiting the global average temperature rise to 1.5°C. World leaders must sign an ambitious and binding agreement in Paris.

  • The inclusion of provisions under a new global climate change agreement that include respect for human rights and the right to development, take into account vulnerable groups and ecosystems, and incorporate traditional and indigenous knowledge.

  • China must halt the displacement of nomads from the grasslands of the Tibetan Plateau and return stewardship of Tibet’s grasslands to Tibet’s nomads. China needs Tibetan nomads’ traditional ecosystems knowledge of the grasslands. They have learned over millennia that only through good stewardship is life on the Tibetan Plateau humanly possible and ecologically sustainable.
  • China must introduce a community-based resource management approach to ensure Tibetans are at the centre of any just and enduring solution to determining the best way manage ecosystems and their resources, especially in adapting to climate change. 
  • China must consider other models of adaptation to climate change, especially from Mongolia, where emphasis is placed on the protection of the livelihood and culture of nomadic herders while ensuring the health and productivity of the grassland ecosystem. 
  • China must halt all land uses that threaten the Tibetan Plateau’s ecosystems and ecosystem services, especially water resources. It should halt its programme of building mega-dams and stop destructive mining practices.