The US rejection of the Kyoto Protocol would be disastrous for Maldives, said Mohamed Khaleel, director of environmental affairs in the country's environment ministry. "It is a matter of life and death for us," says Khaleel. Eighty per cent of the islands are just one metre above the sea level. Even a small rise in the sea level due to global warming could submerge several small islands. It could also put the lives of thousands of people in jeopardy. "The people will become environmental refugees," he said.
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