Maldives “first to go carbon neutral”

The president of the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed, plans to make his Indian Ocean nation “the world’s first carbon-neutral country” within 10 years, the British newspaper the Observer reported. Nasheed’s announcement comes just days after climate scientists issued stark new warnings about rising sea levels, which could engulf the Maldives and other low-laying countries in this century.


In a commentary for the newspaper, Nasheed said his country’s plans would be “spearheaded by a switch from oil to 100% renewable energy production within a decade”. In making the switch, “the Maldives will no longer be a net contributor to greenhouse-gas emissions”.


Acknowledging that the “radical shift” will not be easy or cheap, Nasheed wrote that “when I read those science reports from Copenhagen, I know there is only one choice. Going green might cost a lot but refusing to act now will cost us the Earth.”


The Maldives plan includes a new renewable-electricity generation and transmission infrastructure with 155 large wind turbines, half a square kilometre of rooftop solar panels, and a biomass plant burning coconut husks. Battery banks would provide back-up storage. The electricity produced would power vehicles as well as homes and businesses.

“Climate change isn’t a vague and abstract danger but a real threat to our survival,” said Nasheed, who assailed politicians who “prefer to deny, squabble and procrastinate rather than heed the words of those who know best”. Expressing concern that global warming and sea-level rise could be tipped “beyond man’s control”, he added: “If the world can’t save the Maldives today, it might be too late to save London, New York or Hong Kong tomorrow.”


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