Maldives leader turns stuntman to fight climate change

MALE, October 18, 2009 (AFP) – Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed, who staged the world’s first underwater cabinet meeting at the weekend, is emerging as the global stuntman in the battle against climate change. Nasheed, 42, dived with his cabinet to the sea bottom Saturday in an effort to press December’s UN summit in Copenhagen to cap carbon emissions that cause global warming, threatening low-lying nations such as the Maldives.

“We should come out of Copenhagen with a deal that will ensure that everyone will survive,” said the president as he bobbed in the shimmering Indian Ocean after the meeting.

A presidential aide said the event, to highlight the threat facing the resort paradise — which scientists warn could be submerged by rising sea levels by the century’s end, was Nasheed’s idea.

He said a New York-based environmental group had wanted the president to hold a banner underwater to push for cuts in global greenhouse gas emissions.

But Nasheed, the youngest leader in South Asia, went one better, with the 30-minute meeting intended to highlight a potentially watery future for the 1,192 coral islands that make up the Maldives.

It was only the latest in a series of eye-catching publ