Maldives to seek a new homeland

The Maldives, one of the nations most vulnerable to rising sea levels due to climate change, plans to channel a portion of its annual income from tourism into buying a new homeland for its 300,000 people, the country's new president, Mohamed Nasheed, told the Guardian.


"We can do nothing to stop climate change on our own," said Nasheed, "and so we have to buy land elsewhere. It’s an insurance policy for the worst possible outcome." Saying that Sri Lanka, India and Australia were possible locations for land purchase through a sovereign wealth fund, Nasheed added: "We do not want to leave the Maldives, but we also do not want to be climate refugees living in tents for decades."

A chain of nearly 1,200 islands in the Indian Ocean, the Maldives could be inundated by even a small increase in sea levels. Most parts of the country are just 1.5 metres above water, and the highest point is 2.4 metres. The United Nations forecasts a sea-level rise of up to 59 centimetres by 2100.

"It’s an unprecedented wake-up call," said Tom Picken, head of international climate change at Friends of the Earth. The Maldives, he said, "is a victim of climate change caused by rich countries [that] are not fulfilling their obligations to help poorer nations."

See full story