Global Warming Threatens Tibet Rail Link
CHINA: June 24, 2005
BEIJING - Rising temperatures on the "roof the world" threaten China's
controversial railway link across the snow-covered Tibetan plateau, the
China Daily said on Thursday.
The pan-Himalayan rail project, which began in 1958, eight years after
Chinese troops invaded Tibet, is expected to be finished by the end of
"By 2050, safe operation of the Qinghai-Tibet railway will be affected if
temperatures keep rising steadily as observed over past decades," Luo
Yong, deputy director of China's National Climate Centre, was quoted as
Winter and summer temperatures on the Tibetan plateau could jump as much
as 3.4 degrees Celsius (6.1 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2050, causing normally
frozen ground under the rail line to melt, the China Daily said.
Many climatologists considered the plateau a "magnifier" of global
climate change and an indicator of warming trends across East Asia, it
The railway will span 2,040 km (1,270 miles) from Xining in Qinghai
province, to the capital of Tibet, Lhasa.
China says the rail link will promote development and help raise living
standards in the impoverished region, while Tibet activists say it will
speed up the pace of Chinese migration to the area and dilute Tibetan
Luo issued his warning at a symposium on climate change in Beijing, which
has been simmering under temperatures as high as 40 C (104 F) this week
in a heat wave that has struck much of northern China.