Maldives News Beat

Maldives Frustrated by UN Climate Conference Compromise

By Jonathan Kearney
November 17, 2021
Photo of Maldives Frustrated by UN Climate Conference Compromise

Officials from the Maldives were left frustrated by the COP26 compromise agreement. Delegates failed to reach a consensus on key issues at the UN’s climate conference in Glasgow.

Countries such as the Maldives are already pinning their hopes on next year’s climate conference in Egypt for more drastic action to be taken by the international community in tackling climate change.

Delegates failed to reach a consensus on a commitment to keep global temperature increases below 1.5 degrees Celsius – part of the Paris Accord of 2015.

Without the universal support of the international community, there are fears the 1.5 degrees threshold will be surpassed, representing a grave danger to low lying nations such as the Maldives.

Representatives from the Maldives’ envoy warned global leaders of the stark consequences for the country if they fail to act on climate change commitments.

The Maldives’ envoy has been vocal about the commitment required to help stop global temperatures rising and protect low-lying nations.

President of the Maldives, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, told the conference that the Maldives would cease to exist by the end of the century if action was not taken to halt a rise in global temperatures.

President Solih asked delegates in Glasgow, “What will it take for you to listen to us?”

The Maldives Government believes that an increase in global temperatures is causing sea levels to rise, therefore threatening the existence of the islands that make up the country.

President Solih told the conference in Glasgow he had visited six islands in his nation in a month, all of which are being affected by “severe erosion”.

Reacting to the compromise agreement, Aminath Shauna, the Maldives’ Environment Minister, said the agreement was “not in line with the urgency and scale required” and added, “The difference between 1.5 and 2 degrees is a death sentence for us”.

Former President and current Speaker of the Maldives Parliament, Mohamed Nasheed, also spoke passionately during the summit in Scotland.

He stressed the importance of global leaders maintaining a commitment to keep global temperature increases below 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Nasheed was addressing the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh to coincide with the Glasgow conference.

He said: “No point of ground in my country…is more than a couple of metres above the sea level; we are already seeing our coast eroding as the seas rise and the waves eat away at more and more of our land.”

The former President added: “I will not sign a suicide note for my nation. None of us will sign a suicide note for the world.

“Despite all our differences, we all know what the outcome must be.

“Let us unite and use the power of parliaments to deliver 1.5C. Let us save this planet. We are the generation to do that.”

The Maldives has been lobbying for financial support from developed nations to help mitigate rising temperatures and sea levels' impact.

But again, delegates failed to reach an agreement on the distribution of £100bn (US $135bn) a year to support developing nations to help tackle climate change.

Nevertheless, the Maldives Government has committed to making the country carbon neutral by 2030.

Support for renewable energy projects is at the heart of a commitment to reduce the country’s carbon emissions by 26% before the beginning of the next decade. The country is also committed to phasing out single-use plastics by 2023.