Maldives

Marshall Islands, Photo by Brook Meakins

Marshall Islands, Photo by Brook Meakins

The Maldives, consisting of over 1,100 islands to the west of India, is the world's lowest-lying nation. On average, the islands are only 1.3 meters above sea level. A rise of just three feet would submerge the Maldives and make them uninhabitable.

Even small increases in sea level are likely to worsen existing environmental challenges on the islands, such as persistent flooding from waves often generated by storms far away. More than 90 of the inhabited Maldives islands experience annual floods. In 2007, a series of swells forced the evacuation of more than 1,600 people from their homes and damaged more than 500 housing units.

Some 191 of the country's 358 inhabited islands have fewer than 5,000 people and about one–third of all residents live in the capital city of Malé on North Malé Atoll. With roughly 104,000 people residing within 2.2 square miles (5.8 square kilometers), North Malé Atoll encompasses some of the most densely populated islands in the world.

The Maldives has pledged to spend 2 percent of its national income on clean-energy investments to fulfill their commitment to become 60 per cent solar-powered—and carbon neutral—by the end of the decade.