Maldives leader vows to make country carbon neutral

LONDON, March 14, 2009 (AFP) – The Maldives will become the world’s first carbon neutral country by fully switching to the use of renewable energy within a decade, President Mohamed Nasheed said in an article to be published Sunday. “People often tell me caring for the environment is too difficult, too expensive or too much bother. I admit installing solar panels and wind turbines doesn’t come cheap.

“But when I read those science reports from Copenhagen, I know there is only one choice. Going green might cost a lot but refusing to act now will cost us the Earth.”

In March 2007, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that global warming, if unchecked, would lead to a devastating amalgam of floods, drought, disease and extreme weather by the century end. Writing in Britain’s Observer weekly newspaper, Nasheed said the country would rely on solar panels and wind turbines instead of oil, adding that “the Maldives will no longer be a net contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.”

Nasheed’s remarks come just less than a week after scientists meeting in Copenhagen earlier this week warned the impact of global warming was accelerating beyond a forecast made by UN experts two years ago.