President Mohamed Nasheed was joined by 10 Maldivian school children who were also invited to the Symposium
The Maldives has made “significant progress” towards becoming the world’s first carbon neutral country. Speaking at the Six Senses SLOWLIFE Symposium at Soneva Fushi resort last week, President Mohamed Nasheed 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% cut in carbon emissions without raising electricity costs. Part of the process requires electricity consumers to become generators. The Male’ hotel chain became the first enterprise to sign a contract with the state government under which it will supply solar power onto the grid.
Transport will also figure heavily in efforts to become a carbon neutral nation. The Transport Ministry is developing a new import regime whereby the electric car will be available at one third of the price of petrol fuelled vehicles, and new policies will encourage the uptake of renewable energy and marine transport. This move will be given financial backing with a government pledge to spend 2% of national income on renewable energy deployment.
The President said; “We know a low-carbon growth trajectory is possible and we are going forward to do it. While costs of diesel generation in the Maldives can be over 40 cents renewable energy costs can be below 30 cents. It is financially and economically viable.”
President Nasheed does not expect to change the world, but hopes to act as an example to larger nations. “If we can demonstrate a low carbon development strategy that can be copied elsewhere, it will be a step in the right direction,” he said.