The president of the Maldives and his cabinet met underwater today to urge global cuts in carbon emissions.
The Maldives are a beautiful archipelago of more than 1,000 islands in the Indian Ocean, famous for their clear waters, clean beaches, and coral reefs. But with the majority of the islands standing less than five feet (1.5 meters) above the water line, the whole country could disappear if sea levels rise. President Mohamed Nasheed has been fighting hard to keep his country from going under and has recently called for a green tax on visitors. He’s also vowed to make the Maldives the first carbon-neutral country in the world.
While underwater, President Nasheed and his cabinet signed a call for a strong climate change agreement. Written on a plastic slate, the statement calls for a 40% reduction of 1990 emissions levels and will be presented at the climate summit this December.
“We are trying to send our message to let the world know what is happening and what will happen to the Maldives if climate change isn’t checked,” said President Nasheed. “What we are trying to make people realize is that the Maldives is a frontline state. This is not merely an issue for the Maldives but for the world. If we can’t save the Maldives today, you can’t save the rest of the world tomorrow.”
The president and his ministers then signed their wetsuits, which will be auctioned off and the money used to protect local coral reefs.