Home > News > Climate Change: World’s Top Security Challenge – President Nasheed

Climate Change: World’s Top Security Challenge – President Nasheed

President Nasheed called on Commonwealth countries to unite to tackle greenhouse gas emissions, warning that climate change is the “greatest security and human rights challenge of the 21st Century.”

Addressing 250 Commonwealth parliamentarians gathered at the British parliament in London on Monday morning, President Nasheed urged Commonwealth nations to take the lead in cutting carbon dioxide emissions, responsible for global warming and associated sea level rise.

“In every battle you have a frontline. And in the climate change battle, the Maldives is a frontline state. Maldivians have lived in these islands for 2,000 years and we don’t want to trade paradise for an environmental refugee camp. But climate change not only threatens the Maldives it threatens us all. What happens to the Maldives today happens to other countries tomorrow.”

President Nasheed said world leaders must reduce global greenhouse gas emissions to avoid a temperature rise of more than 2 degrees Celsius.

“The science is no longer in doubt. Carbon pollution, left unchecked, will wreak global climate catastrophe. We must slash greenhouse gas emissions and control the climate before we reach the two degree tipping point. If warming rises over two degrees, the battle may well have been lost. The stakes are as high as they come. If we lose this battle, we lose most of life on Earth. We must act; and act decisively,” the President said in a stirring address.

President Nasheed said he felt large, developing nations can be part of the “climate solution” as long as Western governments are prepared to help pay for clean development, based on renewable electricity generation.

The President also called for reforms to the international political architecture, to help place large developing nations at the centre of a climate change solution. The President specifically called on the United Nations Security Council to accept India and Brazil as permanent members.

The President reiterated his belief that climate change is also “fundamentally a human rights issue because it threatens fundamental human rights.”

“Already climate change is killing some 300,000 people a year, according to Kofi Annan’s think tank the Global Humanitarian Forum,” the President added.

President Nasheed said the Maldives’ 10-year carbon neutral plan made good economic sense, as Maldivian schools and hospitals are spending large proportions of their budgets on diesel power generation.

The President also said he hoped other countries would emulate the Maldives’ plan and adopt carbon neutral targets of their own.

Source: The President’s Office Website

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