The Strategist

Maldives: Our country is at risk of extinction due to climate change

05/20/2021 - 04:32

The Maldives authorities have warned that the state could disappear due to climate change. 80% of the surface of the islands on which the country is located are barely more than one metre above sea level.

The Maldives could disappear by the end of the century if the world does not begin to tackle climate change quickly and in a concerted manner, the country's environment, climate change and technology minister Aminath Shauna told CNBC television. 

Today, the surface of 80% of the country's 1,190 islands is only one metre above sea level, making them particularly vulnerable to possible rising ocean levels. Shauna said 90 per cent of the archipelago's islands are waterlogged, with shoreline erosion as high as 97 per cent.

Shauna revealed that the Maldives is taking steps to protect coastal areas and is striving to become a leader in efforts to mitigate climate change. In 2020, the government has pledged to reduce harmful emissions by 26 per cent compared to 1990 levels and to completely eliminate carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by 2030. However, international co-operation is needed to achieve the targets. "Ambitious targets are needed to help not only the Maldives but all small island states," said the minister.

According to scientists, global sea levels could rise by 1.1 metres by 2100. If such predictions come true, the Maldives, situated on coral atolls in the Indian Ocean, could be among the worst affected countries - the highest point of the archipelago barely reaches 2.4 metres above sea level.