Former President Mohamed Nasheed urged the international community to make urgent commitments to reduce global carbon emissions at the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP24).
"We are not going to become the first victims of the climate crisis," stated Nasheed to delegates of 196 countries attending the climate talks intended to finalise the 'rule book' under which the 2015 Paris Agreement will be implemented.
Maldives is extremely vulnerable to climate change, with the 2018 report of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), predicting that a 1.5C increase in global temperatures will have irreversible impacts on the entire nation.
"Climate change is a national security issue for us. It is an existential threat," stated Nasheed.
Despite the pressing need for progress, several participating nations of COP24 disagree on the technicalities of cutting fossil fuel emissions.
Nasheed referred to the lack of progress, stating that the same 'dinosaur language' of previous years was still used despite increased urgency.
A notable obstacle to a cohesive agreement occurred when Saudi Arabia, USA, Kuwait and Russia refused to formally “welcome” the IPCC’s report, which would necessitate higher quotas for carbon emission reductions. The economies of the aforementioned countries are heavily dependent on fossil fuels.
Nasheed was invited to head the Maldivian envoy to Katowice, Poland, by President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.
The former president received global recognition for the speech he delivered at COP15, calling for cuts in global carbon emissions. Nasheed also orchestrated the world's first underwater cabinet meeting to emphasize the threat posed by sea level rise.