President Mohamed Nasheed has said the Maldives considered achieving a planet-saving deal in Copenhagen to be a matter of national security.
Addressing the Delhi Observer Research Foundation, on the Environment and Conflict Resolution, President Nasheed said combating piracy, curtailing illegal fishing and preventing terrorism were key security objectives for the Maldives.
However, the President stressed: “climate change is our greatest threat.”
Intergovernmental Penal on Climate Change (IPCC) forecasts that sea level will rise an estimated 60 centimetres this century, which is enough to submerge a good portion of the Maldives, where the highest point of land is no more than 1.5 meters above sea level.
Highlighting the Maldives’ vulnerability to the threats posed by climate change, the President said climate change was a clear and present danger to our very existence.
“Maldivians have lived in these islands for over 2,000 years; and we don’t want to trade paradise for an environmental refugee camp”, he added.
The President noted that the threats posed by climate change not only endangered low-lying countries like the Maldives, Bangladesh and Holland. Instead, he warned, left unchecked, climate change was a threat multiplier for every nation on Earth.
Reiterating his calls to defend the frontline states like the Maldives, President said, “If we can’t save frontline states such as the Maldives today, you can’t save yourselves tomorrow.”
Comparing current conflicts and chaos climate change could cause, the President recalled the findings of a report by CNA Corporation, commissioned for Pentagon.
Drawing on the conclusions of the report, President said that climate change would create natural and humanitarian disasters on a scale far worse than those we see today.
He said, “Climate change will exacerbate already marginal living conditions in many African, Asian and Middle Eastern countries.”
He added, this would cause political instability and failed states, as weak governments buckled under the climate strain.
President Nasheed said everyone knew the threats posed by climate change. However, he said, the question was whether we were prepared to act to prevent the impending disasters as a result of climate change.
The President echoed the calls of top climate scientists to reduce the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration to 350 parts per million to prevent “irreversible and catastrophic climate change.”
He called on every major economy to “agree to produce enough renewable energy to attain the 350 ppm target.”
He said, “Countries that have the foresight to green their economies today, will be the winners of tomorrow.”
After his address, President Nasheed attended a lunch hosted by the Observer Research Foundation in his honour.
President also today visited an exhibition of green technologies and renewable energies being held in conjunction with the Delhi High Level Conference on Climate Change.