The Third Pole: How climate change is affecting the Tibetan Plateau
About the Event
The region that encompasses the Hindu Kush Himalayas mountain range and the Tibetan Plateau is widely known as the Third Pole because its ice fields contain the largest reserve of fresh water outside the polar regions. This region is the source of the 10 major river systems that provide irrigation, power and drinking water to over 1.9 billion people in Asia – over 24% of the world’s population.
Dr Martin Mills, the Director of Scottish Centre for Himalaya Research, Scotland, recently said, “The Global Climate Warming is causing a catastrophic collapse of the Third Pole Cryosphere. The general temperature of the Tibetan Plateau has seen a consistent movement towards a warmer and wetter climate and a reduction in the number of very cold winter days since the 1980s. There is clear evidence that temperatures across the Third Pole region are increasing at a rate two to four times the global average, a process that has been underway for more than half a century.” Asia is the centre for some of the most serious problems and also solutions for climate change, and this panel discussion will explain why.
About the Panel
Dr. Martin Mills is Senior Lecturer in Anthropology at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, and Director of the Scottish Centre for Himalayan Research. He specialises in the comparative organisation and structure of governance in religious, state and medical institutions. Dr. Mills’ principal research focus is the anthropological study of Tibetan communities, in particular its religious and governmental institutions. He is author of Identity, Ritual and State in Tibetan Buddhism: The Foundations of Authority in Gelukpa Monasticism (Routledge 2003), he has carried out fieldwork in Tibet, Ladakh, China, Northern India and Scotland over the last thirty years. He is a Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute and member of the Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK and Commonwealth, as well as member of the International Association for Tibetan Studies and the International Association of Ladakh Studies. Dr. Mills is Secretary of the Cross-Party Group on Tibet within the Scottish Parliament, Chairman of the China Studies Group at Aberdeen and Academic Representative to Court in the University of Aberdeen. He has previously lectured and researched at the universities of Edinburgh, St.Andrews and Sussex.
Professor Maharaj Krishan Pandit is Chief Executive Officer, Institution of Eminence, Dean & Chair, Research Council & Director, CISMHE, University of Delhi. He is Radcliffe Fellow, Harvard University, and Distinguished Visiting Professor at the National University of Singapore. In addition, he is Dean, Faculty of Science, Head, Department of Environmental Studies, University of Delhi. Professor Pandit is a renowned expert on Himalayan ecology, the environment and sustainability. His work on impact of dams on biodiversity and human communities is considered a pioneering work (Science, 2013). The primary quest of his research is to understand the genetic and genomic causes of plant rarity and invasion (Jour. Ecol. 2011 (Nature, 2011); New Phytologist, (2014), and impact of land use and climate change on human livelihoods, ecology, biodiversity, rivers and water resource sustainability (Nature, 2013). His long-time research on the Himalaya found expression in a Nature (2020) article on “The Himalaya Should be a Nature Reserve, last summer. Professor Pandit is an acclaimed author of several works related to conservation and sustainability; his works have appeared in top-ranking international journals such as Nature, Science, Journal of Ecology, New Phytologist, BioScience, Conservation Biology, Biodiversity & Conservation and PLoS One to name a few. Prof. Pandit’s book, Life in the Himalaya: An Ecosystem at Risk, published by Harvard University Press, reflects on the conflicts between natural and the anthropogenic.
Mr. Tempa Gyaltsen Zamlha, is Deputy Director of Tibet Policy Institute and also heads the Environment and Development Desk at the Tibet Policy Institute. His research focuses on the socio-environmental impact of climate change on the Tibetan plateau and has written on a number of environmental issues including the increasing cases of natural disasters and garbage littering, and the various cases of mining across the Tibetan plateau. Tempa Gyaltsen Zamlha is also a member of the International Association for Tibetan Studies (IATS) and the Association for Nepal Himalayan Studies (ANHS). He has attended five United Nations Climate Change Summits and presented papers regarding environmental issues at various Universities.