Climate change threatening Qinghai-Tibet plateau

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Xining (China), Mar. 27 (ANI): The Qinghai-Tibet plateau region is getting warmer and the people are clearly feeling the change.

China's official Xinhua news agency quoted 83-year-old Hou Fusheng as saying: "It's getting warmer every year."

Hou has lived all his life in Xining, capital of northwest China's Qinghai province. In his younger days, he remembers, winters were bitter and even the thickest heavy coat did little to keep out the chill.

"Nowadays, young urban women wear elegant overcoats without looking padded up. Even people my age don't need heavy coats most of the time," says Hou.

The past winter was the 15th warmer-than-average winter in Qinghai since 1986, and the average temperature from December to February was minus 7.4 degrees Celsius, almost 2 degrees Celsius higher than the average of the past decade, according to the provincial climate center.

Meanwhile, the average temperature in the Tibet Autonomous Region was 5.9 degrees Celsius last year, 1.5 degrees higher than normal and the highest in almost four decades, according to the regional climate center.

According to a report released by Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations body studying global warming, 80 percent of the glaciers on the Himalayas could vanish within three decades at present warming rates.

China launched an ambitious project in 2005 to preserve the ecological systems of the Three-River headwaters by relocating millions of herders from the area and curbing excessive grazing and other exploitation.

Meanwhile, Tibet also announced a 450-million-yuan (66 million dollar) environment protection project last year, following the central government's approval of a 20-billion-yuan investment in building an ecological belt on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.

The money will be spent on protecting pastureland from desertification, planting trees, safeguarding drinking water sources, and promoting clean energy on the plateau. (ANI)

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