COP26: Dalai Lama says Tibet neglect exemplifies global effect of environmental damage

His Holiness the Dalai Lama. (Photo courtesy: OHHDL)

(, Nov01’21) –Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, has on Oct 31 cited the environmental degradation of Tibet over the past half a century as an example of how ecological neglect in one part of the world can have consequences almost everywhere. The Dalai Lama made the remark in a statement released to coincide with the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) being held in Glasgow, UK, from Oct 31 to Nov 12.

“The melting of Tibet’s numerous glaciers, the damming and diversion of rivers, and widespread deforestation, exemplify how ecological neglect in one area can have consequences almost everywhere,” the Dalai Lama has said in his statement.

Highlighting Tibet’s importance to global environmental security, the Dalai Lama has pointed out: “Tibet is the source of some of the world’s major rivers, among them the Brahmaputra, the Ganges, the Indus, the Mekong, the Salween, the Yellow River and the Yangtze. These rivers are the source of life because they provide drinking water, irrigation for agriculture, and hydropower, for nearly two billion people across Asia.”

Receding glacier in Tibet. (Photo courtesy: YAHOO)

He has said the inhabitants of our planet are interdependent as never before, with the threat of global warming and climate change being not limited by national boundaries but affecting all of us.

Urging for the need to act to make this a safer, greener, happier world, he has called on the world leaders meeting in Glasgow to “gather the strength to take collective action to address this emergency, and set a timetable for change.”

Chinese president Xi Jinping, who has not left his country since the coronavirus pandemic began in late 2019, is among notable absentees in the Scottish city. He will publish a speech on Nov 1 outlining China’s climate position and commitments, said the Nov 1. China is the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, the main cause of global warming, by a huge margin.

In a list of speakers published by the conference late on Oct 31 – including US President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen – Xi was listed as the only world leader who would deliver the address in a written statement, the report noted.


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