We Can Not Make Copenhagen a Pact for Suicide

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A Maldivian Island.jpgYesterday, along with President Obama and Colonel Quaddafi, the President of the Maldives, Mohammed Nasheed, addressed the UN General Assembly.  Nasheed spoke only for a few minutes but what he said may have been the most important words spoken all day.

The Maldives are one of the nations most impacted by global warming.  They will disappear under the Indian Ocean if the sea level rises more than a meter.  The nation is actually raising money to move the entire population somewhere else.  They are the proverbial canary.  So, President Nasheed called on the members of the UN to make the upcoming climate summit in Copenhagen a success.  He called for a return of CO2 levels in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million, the level that our best scientists say is what is needed to stabilize the world's climate. 

Here are his first few words:

Here in the Maldives, it's easy to see why the math of the current climate change debate just doesn't add up -- and why negotiators are going to have to work a lot harder before the Copenhagen climate conference if they're interested in the survival of much of the planet. The Maldives stretches 800 kilometers across the Indian Ocean, an archipelago of 1,200 tropical islands just a few meters above sea level. It is incomparably beautiful but also highly vulnerable. Sea level rise of even half a meter would make much of it uninhabitable; meanwhile, ocean temperature spikes could destroy the coral reefs that protect these islands from the waves.

This is why no one in the Maldives is applauding the recent pledge of the G-8 nations to try and hold temperature increases to 2 degrees and the atmospheric concentration of CO2 to 450 parts per million. A few years ago, those might have been laudable goals, but new science makes clear they're out of date.
And his closing challenge to the world leaders:

The climate is near a tipping point -- when the Arctic suddenly melts and the glaciers disappear, that's a very bad sign. We need our political system to cross a tipping point, too, to move from feel-good statements to actual solutions, cutting emissions quickly enough to meet the demands of science. But politicians are reluctant to act unless the people act first. The events in New York and on October 24th provide ordinary people with the opportunity to make their voices heard and, in doing so, remind politicians who is ultimately in charge.
And here is the transcript and a YouTube of what he said.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Allen published on September 24, 2009 1:43 PM.

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