At a glance
The Republic of Maldives is one of the most vulnerable countries to the adverse impacts of climate change (GCCA+ vulnerability ranking 0.3511). With over 80 % of the total land area less than 1m above mean sea level, it is particularly affected by rising sea levels, and the majority of its land area (77%) may be underwater by the end of this century, irrespective of the possible halting of climate change. The coral reefs surrounding the Maldives are also at risk due to sea warming, threatening its two-sector economy - tourism and fisheries. Maldives' vulnerability to climate change is intensified due to its small size and widely spread geographic dispersion when regularly exposed to multiple natural hazards such as storms, droughts, heavy rains and high waves caused by cyclones in the southern Indian Ocean.
While the Maldives is not a major emitter of GHG, it is highly impacted by the adverse impacts of climate change. As outlined in Maldives' NDCs, energy consumption contributes to about 1.04 million tonnes of CO2 emissions, which is about 0.003% of global emissions. Nearly 100% of all electricity produced in the Maldives is diesel-based, and this makes its carbon emissions per unit of electricity among the highest in the region.
Increasing the share of Renewable Energy (RE) in the national energy mix is foreseen in the Maldives Energy Policy and Strategy (2016). While there is no national grid, each island has independent mini-grids and power plants, which by nature are expensive and provide an unreliable power supply. The Government has installed grid-tied diesel-solar hybrid systems in several islands. Yet the total amount of PV installed in-country since 2007 only reaches about 9MW while currently diesel generators supply 363 MW. Furthermore, it is difficult and expensive to transport fuel between islands, especially in inclement weather, increasing the risk of fuel spillage. Delays in delivery interrupt the power supply in the islands. Increasing access to modern sources of energy would help in mitigating such risks thereby increasing resilience to climate change. A reliable flow of energy also impacts women and men differently in the Maldives. Women's traditional household activities involve work which is fuel intensive. When energy is unreliable, women and girls are usually responsible to collect biomass fuel such as wood. A reliable energy supply will not only reduce their traditional household workload, but also enhance their quality of life, improve access to information and education (through radio, television and internet) and free them up for employment. A higher rate of unemployment among women is noted and makes them economically vulnerable.