China and Inner Asia
Organized Panel Session
Climate change is one of the most urgent issues of our era. Climate change is uneven in its rapidity and intensity. In Mongolia, a struggling democracy rich in mineral resources yet in dire economic straits, climate change has been progressing faster than elsewhere, and its experience may be a bellwether for Asia. The twin strains of climate change and mineral extraction create critical environmental problems in an already severe climate, especially with regard to water resources. In a country where a significant proportion of the population practice pastoral nomadism, drinkable water is essential to sustaining the herds that provide their livelihood.
The papers in this panel explore climate change, particularly as it has affected water resources, in Mongolia. Papers address not only the needs of the herds in Mongolia’s vast steppe but the range of Mongolia’s regions and issues, from accelerating desertification in the Gobi to managing snowmelt in the Altai, and what efforts have been or could be undertaken to mitigate the threat to the environment and local populations. Among the issues discussed are the health of Mongolia’s rivers, mining interests, herding practices, and the conflicts among a range of actors and stakeholders over Mongolia’s resources and the course of its future development.