Six developing nations, participating at a climate change meeting in the Maldives, have announced some of the toughest domestic carbon reduction targets in the world.
Antigua & Barbuda, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, the Maldives, the Marshall Islands and Samoa all pledged to slash greenhouse gas emissions and pursue green growth and development.
The countries affirmed their pledges during a meeting of developing and rich world countries who want strong international action on climate change. The ‘Cartagena Group / Dialogue for Progressive Action’, was held on 17 and 18 July at Bandos Island, near the Maldivian capital, Male’.
The Group provides an informal space open to all countries who want an ambitious outcome in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and who are committed, domestically, to becoming or remaining low carbon.
Speaking at the meeting, Dr. Tewolde Egziabher, the Director-General of Ethiopia’s Environmental Protection Authority, said Ethiopia aims to become carbon neutral by 2025. Dr Egziabher said his country of 80 million people would meet its target by switching from fossil fuels to renewable energy, in particular hydropower, and by implementing a vast reforestation scheme.
Hon. Faumuina Tiatia, the Samoan Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, said his country aims to become carbon neutral by 2020. “Cutting fossil fuels from our economy will benefit both the climate and our financial bottom line. It is much cheaper for us to generate electricity from renewable sources than to import increasingly-expensive oil,” he said. The minister added that he hoped other countries would follow this ambitious pledge.
The Marshall Islands pledged to cut its carbon dioxide emissions by 40% by 2020, from a 2009 base year. “In 2008, the Marshall Islands declared a state of emergency because a spike in oil prices meant we almost ran out of money to pay for fuel imports. We are moving away from imported oil in order to improve our energy security and play our part in the fight against climate change,” said HE Phillip Muller, the Marshall Island’s Ambassador to the United Nations.
The Prime Minister of Antigua & Barbuda, Dr. Baldwin Spencer, said his country aims to slash emissions by one quarter by 2020, from 1990 levels. “The importance of mitigation cannot be understated,” the Prime Minister said. He added that “further substantive action” was required to “realize the range recommended by the IPCC for stabilisation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.”
The Maldives and Costa Rica also reaffirmed their commitment to carbon neutrality, by 2020 and 2021 respectively.
“As a developing country we are committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2021. We are working on establishing a robust measuring-reporting and verifying (MRV) system to set an example for countries that seek low emission development strategies. In future, we also hope to establish an international standard for countries who wish to share the carbon neutral goal,” said Andrei Bourrouet, the Costa Rican Vice Minister of Environmental Management and Energy.
Speaking at the end of the Maldives meeting, Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed praised fellow developing countries for leading the world in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which are responsible for climate change.
“These developing countries are pursuing low carbon growth and green development because it is in their fundamental economic and security interests to do so,” the President said.
“When those with the least start doing the most, it shows that everyone’s ambitions can be raised,” he added.
Notes for editors
Participants at the Cartagena Group / Dialogue for Progressive Action in the Maldives were: Antigua & Barbuda, Australia, Bangladesh, Belgium, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Ghana, Indonesia, Malawi, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Samoa, Spain, Tanzania, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Uruguay, UK and the European Commission.
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