dust-filled “brown clouds” of pollution coming from Asia could be causing as much global warming as greenhouse gas emissions. Even more trouble from China: they have announced that the Dalai Lama has no right to “recognize” reincarnated living Buddhas, meaning they can install anyone they want as the leader of Tibet, effectively ending an ancient the religion.

The “brown clouds” from China indicate that if China needs clean up its act, pollution-wise, before we can succeed in slowing down?or stopping?climate change. UN environmental director Achim Steiner says, “The main cause of climate change is the buildup of greenhouse gases from the burning of fossil fuels, but brown clouds, whose environmental and economic impacts are beginning to be unraveled by scientists, are complicating and in some cases aggravating their effects?The new findings should spur the international community to ever greater action?for it is likely that in curbing greenhouse gases we can tackle the twin challenges of climate change and brown clouds and in doing so, reap wider benefits from reduced air pollution to improved agricultural yields.”

But China seems more interested in cleaning up potential political dissidents than in cleaning up its pollution. In the August 4 London Times, Jane Macartney writes that the latest restrictions are “intended to assert Beijing?s authority over Tibet?s restive and deeply Buddhist people.”

Art credit: freeimages.co.uk

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