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Maldives opens Climate Vulnerable Forum with appeal for carbon neutrality

November 9, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

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 is meeting in the Maldives on Monday and Tuesday.

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

Delegates at the Climate Vulnerable Forum include 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 are attending the Forum as observers.

“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 President added. 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. We don’t want a global suicide pact….we want a global survival pact,” Nasheed stated. Maldivian organisers of the Forum say the aim of the gathering is to amplify the voices of vulnerable, poor nations, who often go unheard in international negotiations.

Organisers say they hope the Forum will mean a better outcome at Copenhagen 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 to the Forum. “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’ 10-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% 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% of the country’s electricity and cut the Maldives’ carbon dioxide emissions by a quarter.

Source: President’s Office Website

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