Maldives to Be First Carbon Neutral Country


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Let's all move to the Maldives and live out our principles. This country of 1,200 atolls and 380,000 people is set to become carbon neutral within ten years. The newly and first democratically elected president, Mohamed Nasheed has made the environment a top priority because of the rising sea levels that are threatening to swamp the land.

Last year the President announced that he was looking to buy an alternative homeland for his country because of his fears of the effects of climate change. The country has already spent £30M on a three-metre high flood defence wall around the capital, Male, but 80% of the islands are just one metre above sea level.

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Now he has announced plans to eliminate fossil fuel use on the islands. The scheme 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 for when neither wind nor solar energy is available."

Cars and boats with gas and diesel engines would be replaced with electric. It would also power homes and businesses. The cost for the measures will be about £110M a year, for ten years. It should pay for itself because the Maldives won't have to import oil products any longer.

The President said:

"The level of warming and associated sea-level rise that would inundate the Maldives could also tip climate change beyond man's control. If the world can't save the Maldives today, it might be too late to save London, New York or Hong Kong tomorrow.

Many politicians' response to the looming catastrophe, however, beggars belief. Playing a reckless game of chicken with Mother Nature, they prefer to deny, squabble and procrastinate rather than heed the words of those who know best.

In a grotesque Faustian pact, we have done a deal with the carbon devil: for untold fossil fuel consumption in our lifetime, we are trading our children's place in an earthly paradise. Today, the Maldives will opt out of that pact.
People often tell me caring for the environment is too difficult, too expensive or too much bother. I admit installing solar panels and wind turbines doesn't come cheap. But 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." Observer
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