Nepal's cabinet to meet on Mount Everest

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The Independent Online

Nepal's government says it will hold a cabinet meeting on Mount Everest on 4 December to highlight the threat from global warming to glaciers in the Himalayas.

Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal and members of the Cabinet who are physically fit enough will attend the meeting at Kalapathar at an altitude of 17,192 feet. Health is a major concern, and a team of doctors will fly with the officials.

The ministers will first fly to Lukla, the only airstrip near Everest. From there, they will take a helicopter to Syangboche, where doctors will determine if they are able to go up any farther. If cleared, they will fly to base camp for a brief, outdoor meeting, said Forest and Soil Conservation Minister Deepak Bohara.

The meeting, just ahead of an international climate change conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, is an attempt to highlight the problem of melting glaciers in the Himalayas.

Glaciers are melting at an alarming rate, creating lakes whose walls could burst and flood villages below. Melting ice and snow also make the routes for mountaineers less stable and more difficult to follow.