On Tuesday, CNBC hosted an important conversation with the Maldives Minister of environment, climate change and technology, Aminath Shauna. He spoke about how the Maldives is the most vulnerable country in the world while the small island risks its land and people due to the rapid changes in climate caused by poor environmental choices.
“There is no doubt about it. There is no higher ground we can run too. It is just us, it is just our islands and the sea,” said Shauna to CNBC. “80% of our islands are just less than a meter above sea level. Making us particularly exposed to the consequences of sea level rise.”
A massive majority of the islands in the Maldives have recently reported flooding and shoreline erosion. The Minister is fearful that the country will lose its access to tourism, fishing opportunities, and coastal resources that are accessible for the locals. More than 100 islands within the series of the Maldives islands have reported environmental erosion and there has been over $10 million dollars spent annually to protect the islands from further damage.
By 2100, the Maldives may cease to exist if the world doesn’t address global climate change and specifically, how that impacts vulnerable countries and island nations. Minister Shauna is urging for the world to diminish their uses of harmful greenhouse gases and emissions. She is hoping that this will help lead an example for other countries who may be experiencing similar erosion issues caused by the globe’s carbon footprint.
The World Economic Forum expects that 80% of people will be directly affected by climate change and the sea level is supposed to rise by 1.1 meters in 2100. If global environmental issues worsen, this means the islands of the Maldives will be totally submerged in water in a few decades which could erase the culture of a whole civilization of people and their functioning economy.
The Minister is using tactical solutions such as coastal protection tools and community programs to help promote a more holistic approach to the climate adversities that are influencing the way the Maldives has operated as a country and tourist destination. Shauna is hoping the entire world lower its emissions by 2030 so that the Maldives can survive. But, she addressed how this is only possible if she gets international cooperation from other countries around the globe.