More Words From a Sinking Nation

Posted on May 2, 2010

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Maldive villages cling already to the edges of the land, which climate threatens to swallow.

Climate change is happening faster and with more severity than we previously imagined possible.

For the Maldives, climate change warnings come with an added bite.  The average height of our islands is just one point five metres above the sea.  Unless remedial action is taken, our country could be wiped off the face of the Earth by the end of the century.

For us climate change is not just an environmental problem.  It’s a direct threat to our existence as a nation.

Climate change will hit the Maldives first, and hit us hard.  But we won’t be the last to suffer.

History shows what happens when front lines are undefended.  Once the frontlines are overrun, it is only a question of time until the infantry, cavalry and even the general pays too.

What happens to the Maldives today happens to the rest of the world tomorrow.  In a sense we are all Maldivans now.

As the world gears up for a climate summit in Mexico, I am here to say—we don’t want any pollution rights.  The Maldives doesn’t want equal rights to the atmosphere.  We don’t intend to lobby for the right to pollute.   We don’t want the right to burn carbon, because we don’t want to burn carbon.

The Maldives intends to become carbon neutral in ten years.

And so in Mexico we will lobby for greater support for a new vision of carbon-free growth.  And we will forge new international alliances behind this vision.

Climate change is not a rich or a poor world problem; it’s a global problem.  And we need to solve it together.

We need to lobby for a global price on carbon and protection for the natural environment.

We need to secure large grants for innovation and research in renewable energy.

For the rest of us, let us walk forward with determination and build the new green economy of the future.

–Mohamed Nasheed, President, The Maldive Islands

Posted in: climate change