Posts Tagged "china"

Why Is a Region in China Banning Glacier Tourism?

Posted by on Mar 10, 2016 in All Posts, Featured Posts, Interviews, Policy and Economics, Tourism | 0 comments

Why Is a Region in China Banning Glacier Tourism?

Spread the News:ShareIn order to protect the glaciers, tourists in China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region will only be allowed to enjoy the sight of them from a distance, instead of walking on them, according to a proposed new regulation in China’s latest Five-Year Plan (2016-2020). Glaciers are “solid reservoirs” in dry regions such as Xinjiang, and thus an important water source. The accelerated destruction of the glaciers, affected by global warming, have led to water shortages in some areas of the country. There are over 46,000 glaciers in China, with more than 18,000 located in Xinjiang, which accounts for about 43 percent of the national ice reserves by area. The Tian Shan Mountains is the “watertower of Central Asia,” with the most important, and the biggest, being the Urumqi Riverhead Glacier No. 1. The temperature of Xinjiang, which is in China’s northwest, increased by 0.06 degrees Celsius per decade over the past 50 years, a rate which is much higher than the global average.The meltwater from the glacier has reduced after years of the glacier receding. Chen Xi from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) said that small glaciers at low altitudes are more sensitive to climate change. “Glaciers in the Tianshan Mountains have receded by 15 to 30 percent in the last three decades,” Chen said, according to China Daily. “And they will continue to retreat by 60 percent in the next 20 years, and by 80 to 90 percent half a century from today.” In recent years, glacier tourism in Xinjiang attracted large number of tourists, but the revenue has been relatively low, at less than one billion yuan ($152 million). Li Jidong, party secretary of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region Tourism Bureau, said according to ts news, “Glacier tourism brought in revenue of less than one billion yuan ($152 million) over the past dozen years, but the collapse of glaciers and loss from shrinking glaciers is incalculable.” Up-close glacier travel will be banned in Xinjiang, according to the new policy. Xinjiang has called for other countries and regions along the Tianshan Mountains to stop glacier tourism as well according to Chinanews. However, Kang Shichang, director of State Key Laboratory of Cryospheric Sciences, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute (CAREERI), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Lanzhou, China, said a total ban on glacier travel is not supported by scientific reasoning. There are hundreds of thousands of glaciers in the world, and few glaciers carry travelers, but overall glaciers are still in a state of retreat. In other words, glacier retreat is still happening, even though most of them are inaccessible to people. Therefore, the main cause of glacial retreat is not tourism. “In the future I hope glacier travel managers attach more emphasis on the popularity of glaciers literacy and arouse awareness of environmental protection and emission reduction based on current situations,” Kang said in an email to GlacierHub. Global warming is mainly responsible for glacier erosion. “Global glaciers are in an accelerated retreat trend nowadays, mainly due to global warming caused by greenhouse gas emissions,” Kang said. He has his own ideal model for glacier tourism: observe glaciers from a reasonable distance. Kang noted that human activities, such as hiking and skiing in glacial areas, are not the main reason for retreat. At the same time, he worried about other human activities, such as the large number of construction, mining and other industrial activities, disorderly foot traffic on the glacier surface, and garbage. “The impact of these behaviors on glaciers is more severe by changing the surface albedo of glaciers, so lead to glacier...

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Tibet’s Melting Glaciers; The World’s Leaky Roof

Posted by on Dec 2, 2015 in All Posts, Communities, Featured Posts, News | 0 comments

Tibet’s Melting Glaciers; The World’s Leaky Roof

Spread the News:ShareTibet is often referred to as the roof of the world, since it is the world’s largest and highest plateau. The lead-up to the 21st Conference of the Parties in Paris, or COP21, created a push to make Tibet a central part of the discussions, even though it does not have direct representation there. Though some countries, such as Peru and Nepal, incorporate minority peoples into their national delegations at COP21, China has not included Tibetan representation in their delegation. The Climate Action for the Roof of the World campaign is arguing that the COP21 agreement cannot be accomplished, and thus the house cannot be saved, without direct consideration of Tibet. This planet is our home and Tibet its roof. We need #climateaction for #Tibet – the #RoofOfTheWorld #COP21 #ADP2015 https://t.co/5JsgkUwfLb — Dalai Lama (@DalaiLama) November 28, 2015 Tibet is not only the highest plateau, with an average elevation of more than 4000 meters above sea level, it is also known as the Third Pole of the world. With 46,000 glaciers, it is the world’s largest concentration of ice after the Arctic region and Antarctica, at the North and South Poles. Two-thirds of those glaciers may be gone by 2050 if the current rate of retreat is sustained. In a press release on the campaign’s website there is a powerful quote from the Dalai Lama: “This blue planet is our only home and Tibet is its roof. As vital as the Arctic and Antarctic, it is the ThirdPole…[t]he Tibetan Plateau needs to be protected, not just for Tibetans but for the environmental health and sustainability of the entire world.” The goal of the campaign is to show the world how environmentally critical and fragile Tibet is. The Roof of the World campaign highlights a few key points that they feel make the Tibetan plateau crucial to the world’s climate and therefore central to COP21; the glaciers provide water for 1.3 billion people in the surrounding area, it influences the region’s monsoons, and there has been a link made connecting thinning Tibetan snow cover with heat waves in Europe. The campaigners believe that if the Tibetan ecosystem is to be preserved, the Chinese government needs to enforce their Environmental Protection Law more vigorously and the global community needs to engage in robust climate action. The campaign points out a number of  critical areas that need to be addressed in a worldwide: retreating glaciers, permafrost melting, the lack of snow accumulation since the 1950s, and threats from deforestation, mining, and dams as. @Tibetans #RoofOfTheWorld photo challenge #peoplesclimate march happening in Brisbane https://t.co/RcNRxhINSQ pic.twitter.com/UfX4vXu3vJ — clara (@clara111) November 28, 2015 The campaign could be seen as a form of “clicktivism” since it is being introduced to the world by way of social media. There is an online photo challenge where people post photos of themselves with their hands above their heads, forming a “roof,” to show their solidarity with the campaign. There are even pictures of the Dalai Lama getting involved, posting his own roof photo. The Dalai Lama has been actively pursuing climate change action since 2011, so it is notable that this is the campaign he has chosen to support. There is also a Thunderclap organization that attempts to amplify users’ messages through way of active social participation that the Roof of the World campaign has used to spread it’s message. The website itself, though, is full of informative guides to help update those who wish to learn more about Tibet and seems to actively push for action beyond the social media campaign. GlacierHub’s managing editor, Ben Orlove, who is currently...

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The ‘Blue Gold’ Rush in Tibet

Posted by on Dec 1, 2015 in All Posts, Featured Posts, News, Policy and Economics | 0 comments

The ‘Blue Gold’ Rush in Tibet

Spread the News:ShareEarlier in October, the government of the Tibet Autonomous Region in China released a 10-year plan to spur the companies across the country to invest in bottled water industry by tapping the Himalayan glaciers in Tibet’s already environmentally sensitive region, according a recent report. Tibet is embracing its new ‘blue gold’ rush era. The government’s target is to reach a bottled water production capacity of 5 million cubic meters per year by 2020 according to a report, although the glaciers are melting at the rate of 4 to 8 meters every year – the glacier melting is measured in loss of length. This is just the start of the ‘blue gold’ rush–more and more companies want to enter this market, including pharmaceutical, confectionery and petroleum firms. The TAR government signed 16 agreements with various investors, totaling 2.6 billion yuan (US $409 million), including state-owned oil producer Sinopec, the second-largest food manufacturing company Bright Food Group and the state-owned power company Three Gorges Group. Tibet is considered by many to be one of the last sacred places on land, because of its remoteness, uniqueness and purity. For Tibetans, water is not only important for daily use and livelihoods.  It also holds religious significance. Every year, they hang many new prayer flags around water temples, hoping for sufficient water supplies. To show respect for the local deities and other spirits that govern water, they treat water with gratefulness and respect. However, China is now the world’s largest bottled water consumer and a major producer, according to a study from China Water Risk. With the boom of China’s bottle water industry, companies have been eyeing up Tibet’s glacier resources for a long time and ready to start their ‘blue gold’ rush journey. The Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is known as Asia’s water tower and provides a lifeline for China and other parts of Asia, and it has become a hotspot for new firms. By 2014, the government has approved 28 licenses for companies to produce bottled water in the Tibetan Autonomous Region. It has attracted companies such as Kunlun Mountain Glacier Water, Tibet 5100 and Qomolangma Glacier Water, which produce bottled glacier water, sold at high prices. The appeal of what is considered the purest water on earth matches current demand well. One of the advertisements of Tibet 5100 water says, “the water is sourced from a unique glacier spring at 5,100 meters above sea level, one of the world’s most remote, pristine and untraversed location.” In 2010, according to the Ministry of Environment Protection (MEP) State of Environment Report indicated that 40.1% of China’s rivers were unfit for human contact (Grade IV-V+) and 57.2% of the monitored groundwater was rated as badly or very badly polluted. Under such circumstances, many Chinese households drink bottled water, and only 59% drink tap water according to a survey done in 2014. Tibet is among the most vulnerable place to climate change. Glaciers in the Qinghai-Tibetan plateau have already shrunk 15% over the past three decades, according to the Chinese Academy of Sciences. With the continuing trends of global warming, the risks of further glacier retreat are severe. The bottled water industry thus faces an uncertain future, and it will increasingly compete with other groups in Tibetan society that use water for domestic purposes and other, long-established livelihoods. The challenge to find the balance between the economic growth and environmental stability is at stake for Tibet. To access to the full study report, please click here.     Spread the...

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Photo Friday: Glaciers in China

Posted by on Jan 2, 2015 in All Posts, Art/Culture, Featured Posts, Images | 0 comments

Photo Friday: Glaciers in China

Spread the News:ShareSouthwest China, part of the Tibetan region, has a large number of high peaks, many of them with glaciers. The photos here are showing glacial mountains from Tibet, Szechuan, and Yunnan provinces in southwest China. These are taken by Yu Song, a Chinese traveler with a strong interest in exploring the beauty of China’s mountain. Photo Friday highlights photo essays and collections from areas with glaciers. If you have photos you’d like to share, let us know in the comments, by Twitter @glacierhub or email us at glacierhub@gmail.com. Yala_Sichuan 青藏高原_Tibetan Plateau 西藏阿里日图新藏公路_Tibet copy 云南梅里雪山_Yunnan 西藏山南雅拉香布雪山_Tibet 西藏浪卡子卡若拉冰川佛塔_Tibet Spread the...

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Roundup: Glacier Ed, New Glacier Group, Measuring Xinjiang Ice

Posted by on Dec 15, 2014 in All Posts, Communities, Experiences, Featured Posts, News, Science, Tourism | 0 comments

Roundup: Glacier Ed, New Glacier Group, Measuring Xinjiang Ice

Spread the News:ShareEducating the Public about Glaciers at a Park in Peru “Peru, the host country for this year’s United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change has one of the lowest carbon dioxide emissions in the Americas. But scientists said it is among countries which will be most impacted by climate hazards. To educate the public, one park has created a climate change route for tourists. CCTV America’s Dan Collyns reported this story from Lima, Peru.” Read more at CCTV America.   New Glacier Climate Group Gathers in Montana “Glacier Climate Action is a loose confederation of concerned citizens in the communities near Glacier National Park. We plan to make our voices heard, celebrate local solutions, and let elected officials know that we expect them to act now to avert a climate crisis that threatens to devastate the future of our grandchildren and theirs.” Read more at Conserve Montana.   Changes in Glacier Mass and Water Resources in Xinjiang, China “It is important to understand and quantify glacier changes and their impact on water resources in Hami Prefecture, an extremely arid region in the eastern Xinjiang of northwestern China. Yushugou Glacier No. 6 and Miaoergou Ice Cap in Hami Prefecture were selected in this study. Results showed that the thickness of Yushugou Glacier No. 6 decreased by 20 m with a rate of 0.51 m/y from 1972 to 2011 and the terminus retreated by 254 m, or 6.5 m/y for the same period.” Read more of the article written by Wang et al., 2014. Spread the...

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