Former President Mohamed Nasheed declared late Saturday that the United States’ repudiation of the Paris Agreement to combat climate change is a “death sentence” to the Maldives.
In an interview to Sky News, the former president proclaimed that the effects of climate change and global warming have put the people of the Maldives and other low-lying nations on death row.
Widely acknowledged as the “champion” of advocating for environment protection, Former President Nasheed stressed that even the smallest change to world climate and temperature has major negative repercussions on the fragile environments of the Maldives, listing coastal erosion, coral bleaching, water contamination and dwindling fish catch as examples.
US President Donald Trump announced last Friday the country’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, which was signed by 195 nations in 2015. He described the agreement as a straitjacket that curtails the economy and sovereignty of the US.
The government of the Maldives has also raised great concerns over Trump’s decision. Speaking as the chair of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), President Abdulla Yameen expressed great regret over the US’ decision, highlighting that the US’ withdrawal would not only wreck the efforts of other countries to combat climate change, but throw a wrench into other agreements between various nations regarding the issue.
In his interview, former President Nasheed said that he wishes to impress the gravity of the issue upon the international community.
“For the Maldives, it’s not something in the future; it is already happening,” he stressed. “We make a living out of tourism and fishing. And if your reefs keep on dying, coral bleaching is extensive and, therefore, we will not have many people visiting the Maldives if we have this situation.”
Former President Nasheed went on to say that a unilateral repudiation of an international contract is not acceptable, pointing out, “When people go against international contracts, there is always a recost to that.”
In a message to US President Donald Trump, the former president pleaded, “Please do not leave the Paris Agreement. It has a very strong impact on us.”
Nasheed added that he cannot comprehend why a good businessman such as Donald Trump would walk away from the future, insisting that the withdrawal from the Paris Agreement goes against the interests of the US president and citizens.
Meanwhile, US President Trump has said that he is willing to renegotiate the Paris Agreement or strike a new deal more agreeable to the interests of the US economy. He described the Paris Agreement as a punishment to the US, claiming that participating in the agreement would result in a drop of USD 3 trillion in the nation’s GDP as well as 6.5 million US citizens losing their jobs.