Climate Change

Help us take action against climate change…

Climate change is one of the biggest threats facing our planet. Burning coal, oil and gas, but also intensive agriculture or cutting forests pollute the atmosphere with greenhouse gases that heat up the planet.

The good news is that all we need to save the climate is in our hands.

 

 

Friends of the Earth, Malta seeks to influence government to make changes in policies in favour of people and planet
Our next challenge is to lobby the Maltese government to commit to renewable energy and energy efficiency as a tangible means not only to meet Malta’s international emission targets but to ensure a healthier planet and a better way of life for future generations
 
… join our campaign and support Friends of the Earth
 

The aim of this project, was to train a select group of people to disseminate information on water and energy saving techniques to a number of target households. 

The project also aimed to demonstrate cost-effective measures which low-income households can take to lower their monthly water and electricity expenditure resulting in savings in energy and water consumption at household level and to raise awareness regarding energy and water issues.

The Employment component of the project dealt with increasing the chances of employability of women who have been out of the labour market for a number of years by providing life learning through hands-on training and development approach to unemployed women.

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This project is partly funded by the European Union’s European Social Fund. It was done in partnership with SOS Malta, Paolo Freire Institute, Mosta Local Council and the Ministry of Rural Affairs and the Environment.

Global warming is already affecting Malta in many ways: More extreme weather patterns, longer heat-waves, less annual precipitation but more intense rainy periods.  Last June was the warmest June since 1922; it was also the wettest in 85 years, mainly the result of one rain storm. Our supply of ground water is also under threat. In addition to this, predicted sea level rise and rising temperatures will damage the tourism sector  and will have negative effects on the health of the resident population.

Fortunately, solutions to address the problem exist. The first action is to mitigate the impacts by reducing emissions. Technology is already readily available for energy efficiency solutions and many countries are slowly but steadily switching from a fossil fuel oriented society to a renewable and sustainable one. This process is not easy one. It  has to be primarily supported by Government, with the right mixture of economic instruments, command and control measures, and strong campaigns of environmental education and awareness. The private sector is also a crucial player in this process, with  potential to improve the efficiency of its production processes and to exploit investment in sustainable and green solutions. Such investment, while helping to reduce costs, also  appeals to the fast growing green consumers market.  

Friends of the Earth (Malta) is convinced that the Government should have a clearer and more effective policy on climate change, shifting from a reactive role to a proactive one. We should be aiming at cutting CO2 emissions every year from now on, giving a clear signal that we are prepared to contribute to the obligations assumed by the EU. We should be legislating, preparing strategy and taking action; we must wean ourselves off dirty and inefficient technologies. Malta can still be considered a ‘carbon dinosaur’; its biggest sources of CO2 are the oil-burning power stations. These, together with emissions from land transport, produce most of the CO2 that increases global warming. And as an added “environmental deficit”, power stations and transport produce gaseous and particle pollutants responsible for respiratory diseases. 

Recent initiatives like the introduction of biodiesel and the extraction of methane from landfills are fine but have only a small impact on emissions and far too marginal to make a difference. Work1 by Friends of the Earth has shown that there are cheaper, cleaner solutions to the problem of climate change. The first step is a drive to make energy generation and use more efficient. This has to reach power stations, industry, commerce and households. A second step is to move decisively towards maximum utilisation of renewable energy sources—in our case solar and wind energy. The good thing about these sources of energy is that they are clean, they are climate-safe, and they will not run out. There is a vast resource out there that is largely untapped.. Reducing consumption is also a valid option, as all products require energy to be produced – from production, packaging, transportation, to disposal.


Although with current technology renewable energy will not be sufficient to cover the overall energy demand, yet significant use of it can make a difference in reducing the impacts of climate change on habitats and human life. As shown by work carried out at the University of Malta, the local potential for renewable energy from sun and wind can be as high as  25%-30% of the total electrical energy generated in 2003.

The more renewable energy we use, the cheaper it will become as the critical mass in the market develops. The other solution, currently available at low cost – indeed at cost savings – is simply to reduce energy demand, by eliminating waste and improving efficiency. This process has already started in both  public sector and private sectors; but the  public sector should give a stronger lead.

It is time for Government to take further and more effective action, to design a coherent policy on energy and climate change, including boosting renewable energy production, and designing concrete financial instruments to favour green energy solutions. Friends of the Earth (Malta)  is in the front line of the Climate Change battle. Our mission is to work for a better environment, for an improved quality of life in the Maltese islands, by inspiring change and promoting alternative solutions. We want to engage with the Maltese public and the private sector in what we think is the biggest challenge our generation is facing, by raising awareness and mobilising people to influence the political community towards a more sustainable society, giving solid answers to present and future generations.

 This article was published in the August 2007 edition of the Malta Economic Update.

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