Deepest Cut

Maldives has voluntarily pledged to slash carbon emissions 100 percent by 2020, which is the deepest cut promised by any country so far under an international accord, the Indian Ocean archipelago said.

“Climate change threatens us all,” Maldives president Mohamed Nasheed said in a statement.

“If we don’t act now, we will lose the rainforests, lose the coral reefs and, potentially, lose human civilization itself.”

Under the United Nations sponsored ‘Copenhagen Accord’ countries have to send in their carbon emission cutting pledges by January 31.

Maldives, a group of low lying islands, fears inundation from rising sea levels as global warming melts ice caps.

The Maldivian economy depends on fishing and tourism. Tourism is based on coral island based beach resorts in diving is a key activity. A clean environment is vital to its economy.

In a letter to the Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the United Nations framework convention on climate change (UNFCCC), on 29 January, Maldives foreign minister Ahmed Shaheed had said its efforts would internationally measured and verified.

Proponents of global warming gathering under the banner of UN sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have claimed that the world is warming and that the process is caused by human activity.

Under the Copenhagen Accord, countries should inform the UNFCCC of their emissions reductions targets by January 31st.

“The world is wasting billions of dollars per year on dirty fossil fuels; money that could be saved by switching to clean energy,” Nasheed said.

“New technologies allow us to both develop and maintain a healthy environment. It is time mankind moves into the Green Age.”

The Maldives said its pledge “is the most ambitious mitigation target,” submitted under the Copenhagen Accord.

The Maldives is already working with renewable energy companies and bilateral partners to build wind farms and install solar power capacity.

Though clean with little pollution costs, many renewable sources of power can impose high financial costs on the people.

Other than large hydro power projects, many renewable energy sources are more expensive than fossil fuels, whose costs are raised mostly by state taxes.

Fossil fuels are heavily taxed by both producing and consuming states to raise revenue, while many types of renewable resources are propped up by subsidies paid out of tax revenues.