President receives red carpet treatment in Germany

President Mohamed Nasheed has received a red carpet welcome in Germany by Chancellor Dr Angela Merkel, including full military honours.

Speaking at a joint press conference yesterday, Merkel said she doubted any global agreement on climate change would be reached in 2010, and blamed China and India for their unwillingness “to enter any binding commitments.” This lack of cooperation from two major powers was, she said, a “structural problem” for any climate treaty.

For his part, Nasheed appealed to the German public to push for a climate change agreement, claiming that “we won’t survive as a country if there is no understanding or agreement.”

Nasheed said he expected a global treaty to emerge following the UN climate forum in Copenhagen, but agreed “it may not happen this year.” He said he hoped Germany “will continue to assist the Maldives in its efforts to strengthen and consolidate democracy.”

redcarpet3This is Nasheed’s first official visit to Germany, a country widely considered to be one of the more environmentally concious in Europe and a leader in the practical and economically-sensible application of renewable energy technology. Germany has also been very vocal on issues relating to climate change and generous with development funding.

Later this week the president is due to speak at the Freie Universitat Berlin, where he is expected to press for the world to “ignore the deniers and continue the fight to save the planet”, in the wake of the Copenhagen Summit and leaked emails alleging scientists at the University of East Anglia in the UK colluded to falsify climate data.

Minivan News understands the president will likely call on the EU to be bolder in its commitments to reducing climate change, and perhaps even encourage it to commit to carbon neutrality and set a new direction for investors and industry.

The climate change cause is suffering something of a ‘crisis of faith’ across many countries in Europe following the economic downturn. A similar trend has been noted in the US, where a Gallup poll recently reported that 41 per cent of the population considered claims about climate change to be exaggerated, “the highest since Gallup’s trend on this measure began in 1997.”

Nasheed is expected to take climate change sceptics to task in his address, and condemn “lazy conspiracy theories”.