Mohamed Nasheed speaks at the Climate Vulnerable Forum in 2009 (Photo: REUTERS/MALDIVES/Government/Handout)
In an open letter published today, former Maldivian president Mohamed Nasheed urged conservatives to reconsider their policies toward climate change. "I am a Conservative and an environmentalist — a position, it seems, that is increasingly irreconcilable," Nasheed writes.
Among the countries that he calls out by name: Canada, for withdrawing from the Kyoto Protocol.
Maldives, an island nation in the Indian Ocean, rests only one-and-a-half metres above sea level, making it particularly susceptible to rising water levels that have been linked to climate change. In the letter, Nasheed advocates for increased subsidies for clean energy and strengthened regulations on fossil fuel emissions. He also expresses his worries about what inaction on climate change will mean for conservatives in the future:
As climate change bites, more and more world leaders are forced to grapple with its consequences: fiercer droughts, wildfires, storms and floods. A denialist, Conservative movement has no solutions to offer these countries and therefore risks irrelevancy.
It also leaves Conservatives on the wrong side of history. Over the past few weeks, as the world commemorates Nelson Mandela, an uncomfortable spotlight has been shone on Conservatives who branded the ANC as terrorists in the 1980s. How will today’s crop of Conservative climate refuseniks explain themselves to future generations, in a world made hotter, nasty and poor by global warming?
In 2011, Nasheed was the subject of a documentary called "The Island President." He sat down with George to talk about his time in office: