Hugh Pickens writes "The president of the Maldives and 11 ministers, decked out in scuba gear, held a cabinet meeting 4m underwater to highlight the threat of global warming to the low-lying Indian Ocean nation. While officials said the event itself was light-hearted, the idea is to focus on the plight of the Maldives, where rising sea levels threaten to make the nation uninhabitable by the end of the century. President Mohamed Nasheed and his cabinet spent half an hour on the sea bed, communicating with white boards and hand signals and signed a document calling for global cuts in carbon emissions. The Maldives has already begun to divert a portion of the country's billion-dollar annual tourist revenue to buy a new homeland as an insurance policy against climate change that threatens to turn the 300,000 islanders into environmental refugees. Emerging out of the water, a dripping President Nasheed removed his mask to answer questions from reporters and photographers crowded around on the shore. 'We are trying to send a message to the world about what is happening and what would happen to the Maldives if climate change isn't checked,' he said, bobbing around in the water with his team of ministers. 'If the Maldives is not saved, today we do not feel there is much chance for the rest of the world.'"
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