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climate change affected Maldives proposing green tourist tax

climate change affected Maldives proposing green tourist tax

The government of the Republic of the Maldives has said it is preparing to introduce a climate tax on tourists while the nation's president has warned that he may not attend the UN climate talks in Copenhagen.

According to Reuters reports, the island group is preparing to introduce an environment tax on all tourists which already provide the country's economy with around one quarter of its $850m (£514m) economy.

"We have introduced a green tax. It's in the pipeline. It's a matter of parliament approving it and I hope parliament will approve it - $3 per each tourist a day," said president Mohammed Nasheed in a press conference on Monday.

In March, Nasheed announced plans for the Indian Ocean country to achieve carbon neutrality by 2020 and challenged other nations to adopt similarly ambitious targets.

"We understand more than perhaps anyone what would happen to us if we didn't do anything about it or if the rest of the world doesn't find the imagination to confront this problem," Nasheed told the BBC at the time.

The 1,200 low-lying islands that make up the Maldives are home to 385,000 people, but none of the coral islands are more than 1.8m above sea level and they are at serious risk of being inundated if the latest scientific predictions that sea levels could rise by more than one metre by the end of the century prove accurate.

In August, Nasheed announced that he may not be able to attend the UN Climate Change talks in Copenhagen in December as the financial crisis had taken its tole on the country's tourism industry and forced it to seek a $60m loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Earlier this month, the Maldives announced it is to undertake a series of so-called biochar projects to help scrub carbon from the atmosphere. The technology works by heating wood and crop waste using a process known as pyrolysis to create a carbon-rich substance called biochar that can be mixed with soil and buried underground.

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