Interview: Chinese scientist urges international collaboration to combat climate impacts in Pan-Third Pole region

Tandong Yao, of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, told a session of the United Nations Science, Policy, and Business Forum on the Environment in Nairobi that global warming has led to melting of glaciers, resulting in extreme weather events that have affected livelihoods of millions of people in the region.

“Urgent international cooperation is required to study and find solutions to reverse the environmental changes,” he said.

Yao noted that the Chinese government has taken measures to combat effects of global warming on the Pan-Third Pole region.

The Third Pole region is centered on the Xizang Plateau and extends over 5 million square kilometers with an average elevation of over 4,000 meters. It is regarded as the Water Tower of Asia.

Yao said the environmental changes being witnessed in the Third Pole region and the surrounding areas have been linked with global climate systems.

Chinese scientists are already cooperating with their peers in the affected central Asian region as well as those from United Nations agencies, the United States, Germany, France and Sweden.

The degradation of the Pan-Third Pole region is a global concern, given that it extends over 20 million square kilometers and is home to over 3 billion people, Yao said.

The Pan-Third Pole region is exposed to drastic climate change, with the melting of glaciers causing environmental disasters associated with extreme weather events like floods, droughts and ice avalanches, he said.