Nepal Government Holds World’s Highest Cabinet Meeting
More politicians and world leaders are taking their climate change actions to the extreme.
Earlier this year, we saw the Maldives government hold a cabinet meeting underwater to highlight the threat of rising sea levels due to global warming; which could easily be dubbed the world’s lowest cabinet meeting. Now, Nepal’s government has gone the other way in extremes by holding the world’s highest cabinet meeting on Mount Everest, to highlight the threat global warming poses to glaciers.
The ministers wore thin jackets, windproof gear, woolen hats, yellow oxygen masks and purple sashes with “Save the Himalayas” written upon them. While sitting at folding tables, they signed a commitment to strengthen environmental regulations and protect more lands; and of course, also posed for pictures.
If you’re wondering how they got to the Himalayan plateau, let’s just say they took the easy way. Prime Minister, Madhav Kumar Nepal, his 2 deputy prime ministers and 20 cabinet ministers had to be examined by doctors before boarding helicopters that would take them to Kala Patthar—a flat area the starting point for those crazy enough to attempt scaling the peak.
At an elevation of 17,192 feet (5,250 meters), the cabinet only stayed on the mountain for 20 minutes, to avoid any chance of illness. To acclimatize themselves to the higher elevation, the ministers stayed overnight in the town of Lukla—located at an elevation of 9,180 feet (2,800 meters) and then moved on to Syangboche, at an elevation of 12,800 feet (3,900 meters) to board the helicopters.
This extreme political act came right before the big Copenhagen event that started today; and a good thing, too. According to scientists, the Himalayas are melting at an alarming rate, which is raising the risk of village flooding and making mountain routes near impassable. Nepal plans to push for rich nations to commit 1.5% of their earnings to help developing countries protect the environment.
Prime Minister Nepal has said “the Everest declaration was a message to the world to minimize the negative impact of climate change on Mount Everest and other Himalayan mountains”. Let’s hope the world was actually listening, for a change.
By Heidi Marshall