Photo: 4700 school children in Male' Maldives on 17 October, 2009.  Organized by
ECOCARE, the Maldives Photographers Association, Maldives Girl Guides
Association, and the Scouts Association of Maldives.

We ended last week's blog with a bit of somber note regarding US leadership (or lack thereof) on climate change, but this week we can start things off with some much more uplifting news…

Over the weekend the "Cartagena Group / Dialogue for Progressive Action" met in the Maldives to discuss new ways forward towards an ambitious outcome at the UNFCCC and plans for becoming or remaining low-carbon emitters.  The Maldives has already been leading the charge with a commetment to be carbon-neutral in 10 years, and President Nasheed has already joined the PutSolarOn.It and 10/10/10 campaigns by planning to add solar panels to the President's office as part of the path towards carbon neutrality.

Now, 5 more countries are making bold commitments to either carbon neutrality or low carbon pathways:

  • The Maldives and Costa Rica reaffirmed commitments to carbon neutrality by 2020 and 2021, respectively.
  • The Marshall Islands pledged to cut its carbon dioxide emissions by 40% by 2020, from a 2009 base year. 
  • Antigua & Barbuda aims to slash emissions by one quarter by 2020, from 1990 levels.
  • Ethiopia plans to be become carbon neautral by 2025.
  • And Samoa also commited to reach carbon neautrality by 2020.

Now that is what real climate leadership looks like!  It's heart-wrenching that it's mostly countries that have had little to nothing to do with the current levels of CO2 in the atmostphere, and it's also inspiring!

And it's particularly exciting to know that the countries understand not just significance of these measures in fighting climate change, but also the benefits of such actions.  As President Nasheed put it, "These developing countries are pursuing low carbon growth and green development because it is in their fundamental economic and security interests to do so.”

Perhaps those of us in some of the larger pollutting and more powerful countries, can learn from these countries and begin to match their ambition in getting to work to reach 350!

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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