Maldives aims to become first carbon-neutral country
Saturday 14 March 2009
The Maldives – the island nation threatened by rising sea level as a result of global warming – is attempting to become the world's first carbon-neutral country.
The Independent has learnt that tomorrow President Mohammed Nasheed will reveal details of a plan to achieve full carbon neutrality within 10 years. In doing so, his country of islands in the Indian Ocean, will join a small group of nations racing to be first in what environmentalists have described as "the Carbon World Cup".
Five other countries – Costa Rica, Iceland, Norway, New Zealand and Monaco – have signed up to a UN-backed plan to become zero net emitters but none intend to achieve carbon neutrality as quickly as the Maldives, a nation of island atolls which is highly vulnerable to rising sea levels.
Earlier this week, Ahmed Shafeeq Ibrahim Moosa was appointed the country's new envoy for science and technology and is investigating ways to make the country carbon neutral. Mr Moosa, a former political activist and journalist, was appointed with a new Agricultural Minister, one of whose tasks is to reduce food imports.
Mr Moosa said: "Ten years – that's the target. We're going to be looking at solar, wind and waves and working out the best system for us. There will have to be a lot of education. People need to know everyone can do their bit. The Maldives is a small country with only 300,000 people. It will be achievable."
Local environmentalists welcomed the plan. Ali Rilwan, founder of Bluepeace, noted individual resorts were aiming at carbon neutrality, using solar panels to generate electricity and sea water for air-conditioning. "This is the sort of thing international donors are very interested in," he said.
The country's first democratically elected president, Mr Nasheed has made the environment a priority. Confronted by rising sea levels that threaten to swamp many of the 1,200 atolls that make up the Maldives, he announced plans for a fund to buy an alternative homeland, perhaps in India or Sri Lanka. The country has spent £30m on a three-metre-high flood defence wall around the capital, Male, but 80 per cent of the islands are just one metre above sea level or less.
- 1 Scottish independence: Ireland since 1919 is a lesson for Scotland in what a Yes vote means
- 2 Thailand deaths: Pair's bloodied bodies found naked on Koh Tao beach
- 3 Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
- 4 Julian Assange and Edward Snowden join piracy mogul Kim Dotcom’s political campaign in New Zealand
Thailand deaths: Pair's bloodied bodies found naked on Koh Tao beach
Jihadi John': MI5 may have identified Isis militant who killed David Haines but options limited
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: Police will be on high alert on Friday whatever the result
David Haines beheading: David Cameron says Britain will hunt down Isis 'monsters' shown in video murdering aid worker
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly
Salmond accused of laughing off national debt with ‘what are they going to do: invade?’ joke
£400 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client are currently seekin...
£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Secondary supply teac...
£100 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Group: Full time German Supply Teacher...
£45000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsf...