The Maldives are a tiny nation with a fragile environment and a fragile democracy. The effects of global warming are a serious threat. Rising sea levels threaten the country's tourism-dependent economy and the very existence of the country.
The Maldives are comprised of nearly 1,200 islands and atolls in the Indian Ocean. The combined land mass of all the islands is 115 square miles--approximately twice the size of Washington, DC. Climate change and rising sea levels are of great concern to the Maldives, which is only 8 feet above sea level at its highest point. As global warming causes the polar ice caps melt and sea levels to rise, the Maldives' entire existence is in jeopardy.
In the near future, climate change will affect the the Maldives' economy. Every year, hundreds of thousands of tourists flock to the Maldives' beautiful resorts and beaches. Tourism accounts for 28 percent of the country's GDP and for more than 60 percent of the Maldives' foreign exchange. The vast majority of government revenue (approximately 90 percent) comes from import duties and tourism-related taxes.