Maldives should forget about mitigating climate change, says Bluepeace

The Maldives should forget about stopping the effects of climate change and focus instead on adaptation, says environmental NGO Bluepeace.

“Mitigation is something we have to forget about at the national level,” said Bluepeace Executive Director Ali Rilwan.

Rilwan’s comments come after the conclusion of UN climate change talks in Peru, which have resulted in an agreement slammed as “very weak” by environmental groups.

“We don’t have much faith,” said Rilwan, citing the international community’s failure to follow through on previous commitments. “Locally, we have to look at adaptation. Maldives is the most low-lying country – we have to have dry land.”

As talks concluded in Lima, a delegation of cabinet ministers headed to Beijing for economic talks that will include plans for oil exploration in Maldivian territorial waters – a policy Rilwan described as “ironic”.

China-Maldives Joint Committee on Trade and Economic Cooperation

“On paper, there are a lot of adaptation programmes, but in reality you don’t see it happening,” he said, perceiving a lack of concern about climate change within the Maldives.

Former President Mohamed Nasheed, who has gained international acclaim as an environmental activist, has recently expressed his concern that the chance to mitigate the effects of climate change has been missed.

“The world has lost the window of opportunity to mend its ways,” he told the International Bar Association in October, suggesting Maldivians were likely to become the world’s first climate change refugees.

“Big emitters have sentenced us. The world temperature will rise, and the seas will rise over our nose.”

“And what restitution, if any, can be made for the damage done to us – damage we warned about, but did not cause? I fear that these questions will be answered one day, not in the abstract, but in a court of law. And I fear that we, the people of the Maldives, will be the star witness.”

Lima Declaration

The Lima Declaration sets out a framework which further differentiates developing and rich states, as well as retaining plans for a “loss and damage” scheme to provide financial support to “vulnerable” developing nations.

However, plans to determine what information countries should provide in future emission reduction pledges were watered down after fierce negotiations.

The word “may” instead of “shall” was eventually used in the final text regarding quantifiable information to show how states intend to reduce emissions targets.

WWF officials have said the declaration text “went from weak to weaker to weakest and it’s very weak indeed”, while Friends of the Earth International said fears the talks would fail to deliver “a fair and ambitious outcome” had been proven “tragically accurate”.

The reduction pledges are required prior to the COP 21 climate change talks in Paris next December, which will seek to decide upon a new framework for a universal and legally binding agreement on climate change.

Maldivian representatives in Lima told the conference this week: “We do not want to be in Paris to get perished”.

Maldives delegation at UN climate conference in Peru

Noting the recent pledges to the Green Climate Fund – intended to raise $100 billion a year by 2020 – Ambassador Ahmed Sareer said that “as a small island developing state that is constantly facing an existential threat, the current pledges are simply not enough”.

Officials from the environment ministry were not responding to calls at the time of press.

The Maldives has recently become chair of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), while former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom has called on larger nations to allow vulnerable states to take a lead in climate change policy.

Ambassador Sareer said this week that the Maldives’ share of global emission is negligible, and that the government of Maldives was striving to make the country resilient.

The Ministry of Environment and Energy reported that Sareer also attended a number of fringe events in Lima, telling attendees at a Japanese event of the Maldives’ plans to reduce dependency on fossil fuels.

As part of a move to reduce this dependency – which consumes around 30 percent of the country’s GDP – the current government has pledged to work with international groups to explore the potential of oil and gas reserves in the country.

Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture Shainee told media that the government would discuss the issue with two Chinese companies this week as a delegation headed to Beijing for the first China-Maldives Joint Committee on Trade and Economic Cooperation.

India has already offered to assist in oil exploration within Maldivian territorial waters, while a seismic survey was carried out by a German research vessel in August.

Related to this story

Maldivians could be among first climate refugees, warns Nasheed

Silk road deal to be concluded in China-Maldives economic committee

Former President Gayoom calls for leadership of small island states in climate change


15 thoughts on “Maldives should forget about mitigating climate change, says Bluepeace”

  1. Ironically Maldives are getting into bed with the biggest offenders of pollution and destruction of the Earth's resources, China.

  2. Even if oil is present in Maldivian territorial waters, it's doubtful that it will be economical to explore it, given the predicted world oil prices for the foreseeable future.

    There's an abundance of newly discovered sources of oil, particularly in the Unites States and there are various political actors trying to affect the price of oil.

  3. Getting into "bed" with China may seems like a politically expedient thing to do for a country that's strapped for cash like the Maldives. A number of other poor countries did the same, and sure enough they are regretting a lot of those decisions.

    We will effectively become a Chinese colony economically dependent completely on China's good will! There is precedent to this in a number of places around the world.

  4. when has the larger economy, and those who control it ever cared about the little man.

    they're right. it's not a realistic expectation that humanity and our ways will change within the timeframe we have left.

  5. All out with the HEP and the Chinese government to have a better Maldives and better future for our citizens.

  6. Ali Rilwan of Blue Peace is the REAL environmentalist of Maldives, because he does what he does for environment and not politics.

    Others are fake.

  7. Well said, the Maldivians should concentrate and focus on adoption to the climate Change. Try to be realistic and leave mitigating to slow down climate change to the large nation that do the pollution and can contribute to some changes. It’s to slow down what’s going to happen anyway, it’s slow and happens over many years, One of the things that can be done is build out around the islands to stop erosion E.T.C. stop wasting time with useless talk

  8. The reality is we have been highjacked by several groups of people, and nature has given both sides of the equation.

    the religious and the politicians have highjacked the nation. While we do have the beautiful islands, our colour, backwardness, poor state, and affiliations with the Arab world puts us in the category of fanatical fundos. Randomly selected every time at the airports for explosives checks, names mistaken for Arabian wildlife, etc.

    God indeed has put us to test. We have to start from an underground pit, and test our survival skills.

  9. And maybe grow gills, huh?

    But naah. That's evolution and we all know that's laadheenee talk.

  10. Kon delegationeh hedhifa thanthanah gos kos vaahaka dhahkaakatha? How about the concerned authorities provide recycling services, dustbins for the streets and beaches!!! and do something about this insane habit of littering and throwing garbage in to the ocean? How about you do something about garbage disposal and reducing the use of plastic? Sea level rising is a crisis that is in the future, the pollution at hand is a current crisis. It's not only disgusting but it will cause (and is causing) the destruction of reefs and erosion a lot sooner than the sea level will affect the islands and the economy!

  11. We should talk of reducing consumption. Maldives is heading the way to burn fuel to the level of Americans per capita.

    Recent water crisis is a fine example where Maldivians did not care of the amount of waste produced. Even those who claim to fight for climate change, wholeheartedly are not convinced.

  12. Rilwan, you should say this to countries like USA, UK, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Venezuela and all the big countries that are doing oil exploration and producing petroleum. Can you guess what kind of reply they will give you? Something like "who is this guy". Can I tell you. These people who seems to love so much on environment, cant resist using a motorbike and just walk in Male'. So let me tell you..just dont talk nonsense

  13. Do Maldivians have to participate in all these meetings? Some of the Ministry staff are traveling almost every week. What a waste of money?


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