The Maldives are Going Carbon Neutral

14 April 2009

The Islands of the Maldives in the Indian Ocean are going carbon neutral. The Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed has announced a plan to achieve carbon neutrality within a decade. "Climate change threatens us all. Countries need to pull together to de-carbonise the world economy," Nasheed said in a statement. "We know cutting greenhouse gas emissions is possible and the Maldives is willing to play its part." This ambitious project will need about three quarters of a million pounds to install renewable energy across the nation's 250 inhabited islands. This will include 155 1.5-MW wind turbines, a half-square kilometer solar farm and giving up fossil fuels.

Since much of the nation's economy is based on tourism, greenhouse gases emitted by air travel will have to be offset with EU carbon credits.

The Maldives are extremely vulnerable to climate change, as many of their islands are low-lying and will be flooded by a rising sea level.

The new plan could pay for itself in 10 years because of the savings on oil imports, said Mark Lynas, an environmentalist and author of three books on climate change who worked with the Maldivian government on the plan.

"It's going to cost a lot of money but it will also save a lot of money from not having to import oil," he said.

The Maldives imports diesel and fuel oil to power its 200 inhabited islands.

"The point of doing it is that it is something the Maldives can lead the world in," Lynas told Reuters. "No rich country has the excuse that it is too expensive and we can't do anything."

Maldives going Carbon Neutral
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