Make global warming top priority: Dalai Lama to world leaders

November 30th, 2009 - 6:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Dharamsala, Nov 30 (IANS) Ahead of the Copenhagen summit, Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama Monday asked world leaders to make finding a solution to climate change their number one priority.
“Protection of the global environment must take precedence over matters of national interest and politicians must make finding a solution to climate change their number one priority,” the Nobel Peace laureate told reporters in Sydney, according to a post on the website of the Tibetan government-in-exile here.

The Dalai Lama Monday reached Australia for a series of lectures on universal responsibility and the environment.

“Sometimes their (the politicians) number one importance is national interest, national economic interest, then global issue is sometimes second. That I think should change. The global issue, it should be number one.”

Referring to Tibet as the earth’s “third pole”, the Dalai Lama explained why the environment in Tibet was crucial to the wellbeing of people in Asia.

“The Indus, Ganges, Mekong, Yellow, Yangtze and other of Asia’s great rivers all begin in Tibet. That is why the environment in Tibet is crucial to the wellbeing of more than a billion people in Asia,” he noted.

The Tibetan spiritual leader said he was encouraged by the fact that world leaders have started taking the issue of climate change more seriously but added that he couldn’t predict the outcome of the Dec 6-18 Copenhagen summit.

Expressing his hope of returning to Tibet one day, the Dalai Lama, while recognising the problems this would pose to the Chinese government, reiterated that he was ready to do so as soon as he was given a green signal.

He said he was happy to be returning to Australia after a visit in June last year.

The Dalai Lama would start his New Zealand visit after the Australia trip.

In recent months, the Dalai Lama, 74, has travelled across the world to garner support for ‘meaningful autonomy’ for Tibet and to deliver lectures. He has denied China’s claims that he wants independence for Tibet, saying he is only seeking greater autonomy.

However, the Chinese view him as a hostile person bent on splitting Tibet from China. Beijing frowns upon meetings between the Dalai Lama and foreign leaders.

The Dalai Lama along with many of his supporters fled Tibet and took refuge in India when Chinese troops moved in and took control of Lhasa in 1959. He has ever since been heading the Tibetan government-in-exile from here.

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