Finally one politician has grasped the enormity of the problem facing their nation and us all.
Mohamed Nasheed, the new president of the Republic of Maldives has more reason than most to be extremely worried, as his country stands at most 1.5 metres above the sea.
The Maldives are one of the world’s most famous and exclusive holiday destinations, famous for their breath-taking beaches. But that are also one of the most vulnerable to rising sea-levels.
So in a pioneering mood Nasheed has promised to make the Maldives carbon neutral within a decade. “Climate change isn’t a vague and abstract danger but a real threat to our survival. But climate change not only threatens the Maldives, it threatens us all.”
He adds: “The level of warming and associated sea-level rise that would inundate the Maldives could also tip climate change beyond man’s control. If the world can’t save the Maldives today, it might be too late to save London, New York or Hong Kong tomorrow.”
Nasheed takes issue with “many politicians’ response to the looming catastrophe” that “beggars belief. Playing a reckless game of chicken with Mother Nature, they prefer to deny, squabble and procrastinate rather than heed the words of those who know best.”
In a bold move, Nasheed says that the Maldives will be carbon neutral in ten years. In unusually undiplomatic language he says: “We have done a deal with the carbon devil: for untold fossil fuel consumption in our lifetime, we are trading our children’s place in an earthly paradise. Today, the Maldives will opt out of that pact.”
The plan includes a new renewable electricity generation and transmission infrastructure with 155 large wind turbines, half a square kilometre of rooftop solar panels, and a biomass plant burning coconut husks. Battery banks would provide back-up storage for when neither wind nor solar energy is available.
Nasheed ends by saying “People often tell me caring for the environment is too difficult, too expensive or too much bother. Going green might cost a lot but refusing to act now will cost us the Earth.”
If only other politicians had his true sense of urgency.