Malta lags seriously behind on Climate Change

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Global Warming PredictionsDuring a meeting, held today with the Chairman of the Governments Committee On Climate Change, Mr David Spiteri Gingell, Alternattiva Demokratika – The Green Party made a number of recommendations on this very important issue.

Arnold Cassola, AD Chairman, stressed that Malta lags seriously behind in the implementation of the necessary measures designed to help it achieve two major targets by 2020:

To obtain 10% of its total energy output from alternative sources, such as the sun and wind.

And the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions by 20%.

Ralph Cassar, AD spokesperson on Energy, Industry and Transport emphasized that Alternattiva Demokratika has repeatedly called for measures incentivizing the use of alternative energy sources. AD has called for the installation of 3 or 4 onshore wind turbines, the introduction of incentive schemes to encourage the installation of rooftop photovoltaic panels and preferential tariffs for excess electrical energy returned to the national grid, as well as a serious well-planned incentive programme to encourage house-owners to change over to solar water heaters.

Mr Cassar added that it is only through such incentives that Malta can succeed in its efforts to produce enough energy from alternative sources. These targets are well within our reach. Ralph Cassar said, “There are many models of incentive-based regulations, which can be adapted to suit our special requirements, a classic example is the German model introduced when the Greens formed part of the Government a few years back. Targets can be achieved through appropriate legislation on this issue.”

Carmel Cacopardo, spokesperson for Sustainable Development and Local Government, drew attention to the fact that the framework for the Government’s action plan with special reference to Climate Change had already been incorporated in the National Plan for Sustainable Development, and approved by the Cabinet last year. Mr Cacopardo added that, if Malta is to succeed in its efforts to achieve the set targets and increase its contribution to reduce the negative effects of Climate Change, two major issues need to be addressed.

The first is that the generation of alternative sources of energy has to be given top priority. Secondly, there must be a a well planned effort, backed by all the political parties and the population at large, with one aim, the drastic reduction in the number of vehicles on the road. Unfortunately, one measure which could have gone a long way towards this objective, namely the radical reform of the public transport system, despite the injection of many millions of liras/euros from our taxes, has not yet seen the light of day even after four PN legislatures.

Mr Cacopardo reiterated that not only should all diverse forms of transport, including marine, be encouraged but immediate action should be taken to promote the use of bicycles, initially over short distances, by adding significantly the number of bicycle lanes. The latter proposal would have considerable health advantages.

Mr Cacopardo concluded by declaring that Government has the obligation to draw up its Carbon Budget proposals for discussion by Parliament, thus paving the way for the drawing up of specific targets and explaining in detail how they are to be implemented.

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