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Maldives cabinet meeting chaired by President, took place around table 16ft underwater, bubbles ascended from scuba masks


By WcP.Observer - Posted on 19 October 2009

Maldivian president Mohammed Nasheed and his ministers signed a document calling on all countries to cut their carbon dioxide emissions

Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed swims to the first underwater cabinet meeting in the Maldives. Right, the president tries on diving gear before the historic meeting

(quote)

Asked what would happen if Copenhagen fails, the president said, "we are all going to die."

The Maldives government has made an eye-catching plea for climate change action by holding the world's first underwater cabinet meeting.

Politicians from the Indian Ocean island nation donned scuba gear this morning to send a message to world leaders ahead of December's UN climate change conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. The meeting, chaired by President Mohamed Nasheed, took place around a table about 16 feet (5 meters) underwater. Bubbles ascended from the face masks the president and the Cabinet wore, and fish swam around them.

Maldivian president Mohammed Nasheed, left, spoke to the media with vice president Mohammed Waheed Hassan Manik after the meeting

The nation's president Mohammed Nasheed has voiced fears the archipelago will be swamped by rising sea levels unless action is taken to reduce carbon emissions.

Ministers communicated using hand signals and white boards as they signed a document calling on all countries to cut carbon emissions that will be presented before the U.N. climate summit in Copenhagen. It read: 'We must unite in a world war effort to halt further temperature rises. Climate change is happening and it threatens the rights and security of everyone on Earth. ... We have to have a better deal. We should be able to come out with an amicable understanding that everyone survives. If Maldives can't be saved today, we do not feel that there is much of a chance for the rest of the world.'

the ministers surfaced to speak to the media in their scuba gear

Asked what would happen if Copenhagen fails, the president said, "we are all going to die," according to the site.

Maldives is grappling with the very likely possibility that it will go under water if the current pace of climate change keeps raising sea levels. The Maldives is an archipelago of almost 1,200 coral islands south-southwest of India. Most of it lies just 4.9 feet (1.5 meters) above sea level. The United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change has forecast a rise in sea levels of at least 7.1 inches (18 cm) by the end of the century.

The country's capital, Male, is protected by sea walls. But creating a similar barrier around the rest of the country will be cost-prohibitive. Soon after his election in November, Nasheed raised the possibility of finding a new homeland for the country's 396,000 residents.

the Maldivian cabinet held a meeting underwater to highlight the need for action on climate change

At the UN Copenhagen conference countries will negotiate a successor to the Kyoto Protocol which controlled carbon emissions. Wealthy nations want broad emissions cuts from all countries, while poorer ones say industrialized countries should carry most of the burden.

President Nasheed has promised to make the Maldives the world's first carbon-neutral nation within a decade.

The Maldives is a small island nation in South Asia, with an average ground-level elevation of 1.5 metres (4 ft 11 in) above sea level. It is the world's lowest-lying country, with even its highest natural point being one of the lowest in the world, at 5.1 metres (17 ft).

(unquote)

Photos courtesy of AP, Reuters, and Getty Images

Original Source: Mail Online and CNN

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