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Denmark to help Maldives attend Copenhagen summit

September 8, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

Denmark on Tuesday said it was ready to help the Maldives, whose fight against rising sea levels has become a cause celebre for environmentalists, to attend key climate talks in Copenhagen.

“In the past two years we have allocated 2.5 million euros to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change so that the poorest states and islands can attend the Copenhagen summit with three delegates each,” Cooperation Minister Ulla Toernaes told AFP.

It is “clear that the Maldives, which is one of the worst affected nations by climate change, must take part in the Copenhagen summit as their future depends on it,” Toernaes said of the December summit.

The Indian Ocean atoll nation said Monday it would have to skip UN climate change talks because of lack of funding.

“We can’t go to Copenhagen because we don’t have the money,” President Mohamed Nasheed told reporters, adding he was staying away to set an example of cost-saving to the rest of the government.

In 2007, the UN climate panel warned that a rise in sea levels of 18 to 59 centimetres (7.2 to 23.2 inches) by 2100 would be enough to make the Maldives virtually uninhabitable.

More than 80 percent of the country’s land, composed of 1,192 coral islands scattered off southern India, is less than one metre above mean sea level.

The Copenhagen meeting of world powers aims to set curbs on emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases beyond 2012, with intermediate targets for 2020 that would be ratcheted up all the way to 2050.

Maldives is part of an alliance of 43 tropical island states that has set down proposals for capping global warming to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.4 degrees Fahrenheit) compared to pre-industrial times.

The conference is still a long way from endorsing an even more modest target of two degrees Celsius (3.6 F) championed by the European Union and most green groups.

Source: AFP

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