The Maldiveshas made “significant progress” towards becoming the world’s first carbonneutral country, according to the its President, Nasheed Mohamed. Speaking atthe Six Senses SLOWLIFE Symposium at Soneva Fushi resort last week, PresidentNasheed outlined several landmark achievements of the last 12 months.
The government has drafted a carbon neutral energy plan,targeting a 60% reliance on solar energy by 2020, which will achieve an 80% cutin carbon emissions without raising electricity costs. Part of the processrequires electricity consumers to become generators. A Maldivian hotel chainbecame the first enterprise to sign a contract with the state government underwhich it will supply solar power to the grid.
Transport will also figure heavily in carbon neutral efforts.The country’s Transport Ministry is developing a new import regime whereby theelectric car will be available at one third of the price of petrol-fuelledvehicles, and new policies will encourage the uptake of renewable energy andmarine transport. This move will be given financial backing with a governmentpledge to spend 2% of national income on renewable energy deployment.
While the President does not expect to change the world,he hopes to act as an example to larger nations. “If we can demonstrate a lowcarbon development strategy that can be copied elsewhere, it will be a step inthe right direction,” he said.