Nepal’s cabinet has taken an unusual step in meeting outdoors amid the frigid thin air of Mount Everest to highlight the dangers of climate change.
The prime minister and more than 20 ministers flew in by helicopter to Everest’s base camp; more than 5,000 metres above sea level. Coming just days before global climate talks start in Copenhagen, the Nepalese government billed the event as the world’s highest cabinet meeting, so topping the agenda was the serious impact of climate change. Nepal is already experiencing erratic rains, longer dry spells, melting glaciers and unprecedented forest fires, according to experts. Many scientists say the Himalayan glaciers are melting at an alarming rate, creating lakes with walls that could burst and flood villages below. The meeting follows that of the Maldives, which held the world’s first underwater cabinet meeting in October to underline how rising sea levels threaten the Indian Ocean’s archipelago’s existence.