- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 15, 2009

LONDON (AP) - The president of the Maldives says the Indian Ocean nation will become the world’s first carbon-neutral country within a decade.

Writing in Sunday’s edition of Britain’s Observer newspaper, President Mohamed Nasheed said his country of low-lying tropical islands faced “a real threat to our survival” from rising sea levels produced by global warming.

Climate researchers say that many of the Maldives’ 1,200 islands could disappear if the seas continue to rise. Much of the archipelago is only 5 feet (1.5 meters) above sea level.

Scientists meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark last week warned that climate change was accelerating faster than predicted. They said melting glaciers and ice sheets could help push the sea level up by as much as 39 inches (1 meter) by the end of the century.

Nasheed said his country would renounce oil and get all its energy from renewable sources such as wind and solar power.

“Going green might cost a lot but refusing to act now will cost us the Earth,” he wrote.

Nasheed accused politicians around the world of failing to act and striking “a grotesque Faustian pact” by sacrificing the environment’s future for fossil-fuel consumption today.

“Today, the Maldives will opt out of that pact,” Nasheed wrote.

He said the Maldives would officially announce its plan later Sunday at the premiere of the environment-themed British film “The Age of Stupid.”

The screening, in a tent in London’s Leicester Square, is being billed as the world’s first solar-powered film premiere.

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