Thursday, October 8, 2009

Maldives ministers to hold underwater cabinet meeting

Maldives ministers to hold underwater cabinet meeting

Posted by sukhmeet on 2009-10-08 00:37:29

The Maldives government is to hold a meeting under water to highlight the perceived threat of global warming and rising sea-levels. The president of the Maldives is desperate for the world to know how seriously his government takes the threat of climate change and rising sea levels to the survival of his country.

The country, a collection of atolls and islands in the Indian Ocean, stands less than two metres above sea level, and as climate change causes seas to rise it will probably be the first nation to sink beneath the waves.

Mohamed Nasheed has organised an underwater cabinet meeting and told all his ministers to get in training for the sub-aqua session.

Six metres beneath the surface, 14 ministers will ratify a treaty calling on other countries to cut greenhouse emissions on 17th October.

Since taking office last year, President Mohammed Nasheed has emerged as an important international voice on the impact of climate change amid fears that rising ocean levels could swamp this Indian Ocean archipelago within a century.

He has announced plans for a fund to buy a new homeland for his people if the Maldives' 1,192 low-lying coral islands are submerged. He also has promised to make the Maldives, with a population of 350,000, the world's first carbon-neutral nation within a decade.

The leader of a nation made up of 1,200 atolls, 80 per cent of which are no more than a metre above sea level, he has also established a fund to seek an alternative homeland, possibly in Sri Lanka, India or Australia for its 330,000 citizens.

In 2007, the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that a rise in sea levels of between 18 and 59 centimetres by 2100 would be enough to make the Maldives virtually uninhabitable.

At the meeting, the Cabinet plans to sign a document calling on all countries to cut carbon emissions ahead of the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December.

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