Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant or accept liability for the accuracy or usefulness of the transcripts. These are copied directly from the broadcaster's website.
Maldives to go 'carbon neutral' -

View in ParlViewView other Segments

ELEANOR HALL: As Australia's Parliament considers an emissions trading scheme that would reduce
carbon emissions by as little as five per cent, one of the world's smallest nations has pledged to
reduce its emissions by 100 per cent.

The president of the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed, said his country will swap fossil fuels for wind
and solar power within a decade.

Simon Lauder has our report.

SIMON LAUDER: As rich nations agonise over how much responsibility they should take for the world's
biggest environmental problem, one of the poorest and smallest countries is aiming to go all the
way.

The Maldives is a chain of coral islands, south of India. The islands are less than two metres
above sea level and are home to 385,000. Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed says he wants his
ambitious plan to inspire the world.

MOHAMED NASHEED: We understand more than perhaps anyone what would happen to us if we don't do
something about it or if the rest of the world doesn't find the imagination to confront this
problem.

So basically we don't want to sit around and blame others; but we want to do whatever we can. And
hopefully if we can become carbon neutral and hopefully when we come up with the plans and the
investments plans as well, we hope that there plans also will serve a blue-print for other nations
to follow.

SIMON LAUDER: The Maldives plan is simply to replace fossil fuels with wind and solar power -
requiring 155 wind turbines and a half square kilometre of solar panels. It would cost an estimated
$US110-million per year, but the President says the investment will pay-off.

MOHAMED NASHEED: We ourselves, are already spending this kind of money to other energy costs so I
think it is really quite interesting that we found out this week that it is going to cost us
$110-million a year; but then it is going to pay back in 10 years.

So within 10 years, this $110-million we would have already paid back and then we would have
hopefully assisted to save environment degradation to a certain extent and also at the end of the
day we would be coming out with much cheaper energy.

SIMON LAUDER: Scientists told a conference last week that sea levels appear to be rising almost
twice as fast as previously forecast by the United Nations.

The pledge from the Maldives sends an unambiguous message to world leaders who are preparing to
meet for an international climate change conference in Copenhagen at the end of the year.

The announcement has been timed to coincide with the launch of a film that also sends a blunt
message.

(Extract from movie)

EXCERPT FROM 'The Age of Stupid'(voiceover): Observing people on a far off beach. Running around in
circles. Fixated on these small area of sand under their feet as a tsunami races towards the shore.

(End of extract)

SIMON LAUDER: 'The Age of Stupid' uses computer generated scenes, such as a burning Sydney Opera
House in an attempt to get an urgent and dramatic message about climate change through to a
mainstream audience. It shows a man looking back from the year 2055 and wondering why no-one acted
sooner.

Filmmaker, Franny Armstrong spoke to the BBC.

FRANNY ARMSTRONG: Our film is the humans, the human story. What this is about is that our actions
now are going to kill hundreds of millions of people.

SIMON LAUDER: Franny Armstrong describes the current proposal for a post-Kyoto agreement as a
'suicide pact' and she wants to use her film to affect the political mood before the Copenhagen
summit.

FRANNY ARMSTRONG: We are aiming for 250-million people seeing this film before Copenhagen which
sounds ludicrously ambitious but it is only 10 times more than we managed for our last film McLibel
and also we are talking about the end of the world so, you know. We should really, you know, let's
aim high.

Yeah, we raised the money by a scheme that we call crowd funding. Basically 228 different people
invested in the film - between $500 and $35,000 pounds each and they all own a piece of the profits
as do the crew who had to work at ridiculously low wages.

But the point is that we wanted to own the rights so that we could control the distribution and we
could maximise the number of people who see it this year, get inspired and then join the fight to
pressurise the governments before Copenhagen.

ELEANOR HALL: That is film-maker, Franny Armstrong ending that report from Simon Lauder.