Cli­mate change is a global is­sue

Bhutan Times - - Front Page - Sonam Pen­jor

To al­low the con­ver­sa­tion on re­gional col­lab­o­ra­tion and cor­po­ra­tion to move for­ward, with the fo­cus on the nexus be­tween wa­ter, en­ergy and food se­cu­rity, the two days meet­ing on the Hi­malayan third Pole Cir­cle Meet­ing was held in the cap­i­tal in last Thurs­day and Fri­day which was or­ga­nized by Na­tional En­vi­ron­ment Com­mis­sion in col­lab­o­ra­tion with ICI­MOD.

Since in­di­vid­ual can­not fight against the cli­mate change, dur­ing the open­ing cer­e­mony of the meet­ing, Ly­onch­hen Tsh­er­ing Tob­gay said no one coun­try can fight cli­mate change by it­self. To fight cli­mate change, we have to work to­gether.

We have to work to­gether be­cause the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity can’t even agree on how cli­mate change will af­fect our re­gion, re­gard­less of what th­ese pun­dits say, the fact of the mat­ter is that in Bhutan, our glaciers are re­treat­ing. They are re­treat­ing so quickly that we have had to lit­er­ally claw our way through rocky mo­raine, to lower our glacial lakes, to pre­vent them from breaching their dams and flood­ing our val­leys, said the Ly­onch­hen.

Ly­onch­hen fur­ther added that, re­gard­less of what th­ese pun­dits say, the fact of the mat­ter is that in Bhutan, tem­per­a­tures are ris­ing. Our val­leys are no­tice­ably warmer and the snow on our moun­tain tops no­tice­ably ab­sent.

“Think­ing glob­ally, act­ing lo­cally” is not enough. We’ve tried that in Bhutan. We’ve made tremen­dous sac­ri­fices to “act lo­cally”, but it’s clear that in­di­vid­ual ef­forts, while they are im­por­tant, can­not stand up to the on­slaught of cli­mate change. To stand up to cli­mate change have to work to­gether, we have to “think glob­ally, act re­gion­ally”. The en­tire re­gion must come to­gether, to work to­gether, to be heard to­gether, to fight to­gether. Only then will we be able to stand up to cli­mate change. Only then will we be able to con­trol tem­per­a­tures from ris­ing in our re­gion, said the Ly­onch­hen.

Ly­onch­hen cited an ex­am­ple about our own body tem­per­a­ture; Ly­onch­hen said that it’s easy to con­trol my tem­per­a­ture. If it in­creases by one de­gree centi­grade, I feel un­com­fort­able. But I don’t need to do any­thing. But if my tem­per­a­ture in­creases by two de­grees, I have high fever. All I need to do is pop a parac­eta­mol and, voila, I’m bet­ter, my tem­per­a­ture is back down.

We may be re­silient. But our planet is not.

Once tem­per­a­tures in­crease due to cli­mate change, there’s no easy way of bring­ing them down. There’s no parac­eta­mol for cli­mate change. An over­all in­crease of one de­gree centi­grade will make us feel very un­com­fort­able. But an in­crease of just two de­grees will be dis­as­trous – our glaciers will melt, cause mas­sive flood­ing and de­stroy our ecosys­tem. In the process, hun­dreds of mil­lions of peo­ple will suf­fer hunger and dis­ease.

Cli­mate change is not like fever. It’s like a slow poi­son, a con­di­tion that’s al­most im­pos­si­ble to re­verse. To fight the slow poi­son of cli­mate change we must act now and act on a war foot­ing. And we must act to­gether. We must, as we say in Bhutan, “think and act as one!”

H.E. Dr. Ola­fur Rag­nar Grims­son the Pres­i­dent of Ice­land said that the main ice cov­ered ar­eas of our planet are Antarc­tica, the Arc­tic and the Hi­malayas. Among th­ese three prom­i­nent parts of our planet, the Hi­malayas and the Arc­tic share a fun­da­men­tal char­ac­ter­is­tic. They are home to na­tions and com­mu­ni­ties, ter­ri­to­ries which share bound­aries and eco­nomic in­ter­ests, a his­tory of mil­i­tary build-ups and po­ten­tial con­flicts.

He fur­ther added that they are in the 21st cen­tury the theatre where the in­ter­ac­tion be­tween peo­ple and ice is most com­plex in its com­po­si­tion and con­se­quences, their fu­ture will be of mon­u­men­tal global sig­nif­i­cance.

And yet, co­op­er­a­tion, dia­logue, and re­search on the Arc­tic and the Hi­malayan-Third Pole re­gions, are still, in its his­tor­i­cal terms, in their early stages: a some­what alarm­ing state of af­fairs, since the clock of ir­re­versible cli­mate change is tick­ing ever faster, said the Grims­son.

Mean­while, The Hi­malayan Third Pole Cir­cle was an ini­tia­tive of Grims­son. It is based on the sim­i­lar chal­lenges faced by the Arc­tic and the Hi­malaya-Third Pole re­gions, and learn­ing from the his­toric sci­en­tific col­lab­o­ra­tion in the Arc­tic over 20 years ago be­tween the eight Arc­tic coun­tries, the Arc­tic Coun­cil was sug­gested as a pos­si­ble model for the Hi­malaya-Third Pole re­gion.

Her Royal High­ness Princess Dechen Yang­zom Wangchuck and Her Royal High­ness Princess Kezang Cho­den Wangchuck graced the in­au­gu­ra­tion cer­e­mony.

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