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Carbon Neutrality

Maldivian president appeal for carbon neutrality

Apolinari Tairo, eTN Staff Writer  Nov 13, 2009

Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed called on fellow vulnerable developing countries to embrace a carbon neutral future, during his inaugural address to the Climate Vulnerable Forum, which met in the Maldives early this week.

In his keynote address, Nasheed lamented the lack of progress being made in international climate change negotiations and called on poor and vulnerable countries to show moral leadership by shifting from fossil fuel to renewable energy.

Delegates at the Climate Vulnerable Forum included President Tong of Kiribati, as well as foreign and environment ministers from Bangladesh, Nepal, Vietnam, Ghana, Kenya and Tanzania, and representatives from Barbados and Bhutan.

China, Denmark, France, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Russia, the UK and the United States attended the forum as observers, according to a report sent to eTN reporter in Tanzania.

“We are gathered here because we are the most vulnerable group of nations to climate change. Some might prefer us to suffer in silence but today we have decided to speak we will not die quietly,” Nasheed said.

“To my mind, countries that have the foresight to green their economies today, will be the winners of tomorrow,” the Maldivian president added.

President Nasheed called on developing countries to break away from carbon-based growth and embrace green technology as a way to shame larger polluters to clean up their act.

A group of vulnerable, developing countries committed to carbon neutral development would send a loud message to the outside world, Nasheed said. “If those with the least start doing the most, what excuse can the rich have for continuing inaction?”

At the moment, every country arrives at international climate negotiations seeking to keep their own emissions as high as possible. This is the logic of the madhouse, a recipe for collective suicide, Nasheed said. “We don’t want a global suicide pact, we want a global survival pact.”

Maldivian organizers of the event said the aim of the gathering was to amplify the voices of vulnerable, poor nations, who often go unheard in international negotiations.

Organizers said they hoped the Forum will mean a better outcome at Copenhagen conference for vulnerable developing nations.

“The countries represented in this room are diverse but they have one thing in common: their vulnerability to climate change,” Maldivian Environment Minister Mohamed Aslam said in his welcome address.

“We have waited for over a decade for something to happen. But nothing has happened. We refuse to sit and do nothing,” added Aslam.

Environmentalist Mark Lynas, who helped draw up the Maldives ten-year carbon neutral plan, also addressed the forum. “Don’t let anyone tell you it is too late to stop climate change it is possible to stop it with political will,” Lynas said.

The world needs to quit carbon abandoning a form of development we now know to be wrong, Lynas added.

In March this year, the Maldives announced plans to become the world’s first carbon neutral nation. The carbon neutral plan includes proposals to switch from oil to 100 percent renewable energy production.

Earlier this month, President Nasheed unveiled plans to build a 75 mega-watt wind farm in North Male atoll, which would provide 40 percent of the country’s electricity and cut the Maldives carbon dioxide emissions by a quarter.

Best known for tourism, Maldives is one among islands threatened by prolonged global climate change. African countries are facing the same climate change threat that is currently threatening wildlife survival in most parts of East Africa and melting of snow on Mount Kilimanjaro.

Maldivian president appeal for carbon neutrality
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