By CCTV reporter Ai Yang
BEIJING, Aug. 8 (Xinhuanet) -- The Tibetan autonomous region enjoys one of the best climates in the country, with an annual variety of sunshine and rain. But rising global temperatures have brought different consequences to the region’s environment.
Yamdrok Yumtso is 4,000 meters above sea level. The holy lake in Tibet’s Shannan Prefecture is the biggest inland lake north of the Himalayas.
"The scenery is really pretty and it’s surrounded by mountains. It’s a very mysterious place," said tourists from Taiwan.
The area has actually gone greener in recent years -- good news for both tourists and local people. This man lives in a village at the foot of the mountains. He’s seen the climate change over the years.
Farming at high altitude is difficult and produces less yield. But just a few extra days of warm weather can make a big difference to the harvest. But along with the benefits are some negative effects....Just two hours drive from the holy lake, lies the Korala Glacier, in the northern Himalayas. It used to reach the edge of the highway. In the 1990s, people could get a close view from their cars.
Global warming driven by human activity has caused the glacier to melt. Now, many fear that it’s only a matter of time before its natural beauty melts away completely.
In the past 50 years Tibet’s temperatures have risen by 0.3 degrees every decade. That’s about 4 times faster than the global average. Increasing numbers of tourists and vehicle emissions have also tainted the white glacier, exposing the mountains at an ever faster rate.
"Xigaze prefecture is home to the Himalayas. Glacier melting is a big problem but it’s caused by global warming and we’re limited in what we can do. In future we’ll control tourism better and reduce human influence on nature," said Phurbu Tashi, director of Tourism Bureau, Xigazi Prefecture.
While global warming may have benefited some, its damage is clear. Human activity is driving the process... and turning things around is going to be a slow and difficult process.