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
 
Although for decades the arguments against nuclear power have been –and still are- strong and valid, there is an increasing group of nuclear companies supported by scientists and politicians, who say we need nuclear power to fight climate change and to be independent. They also claim that all the problems associated with nuclear power are almost solved or solved. Why do they say this? Because for them, nuclear power means profits, power and politics.

Europe must stop wasting taxpayers’ money to protect a dangerous and financially insane technology. Nuclear energy can not survive in a liberalised energy market, especially if the sensational costs of decommissioning and long-term waste storage for thousands of years are taken into account. Above all, 20 years after the Chernobyl disaster, nuclear power remains the most dangerous mechanism of generating electricity. And, globalised terrorism makes nuclear power stations and the uncontrolled proliferation of nuclear material a serious security hazard. The nuclear industry hopes to trigger a revival of its dangerous technology, arguing that nuclear power is cheap, emission-free and thus has a role to play in securing the supply of energy. But nuclear power accounts for significant emissions if uranium mining, transportation, plant construction and decommissioning and waste storage are included in the calculation.

Thankfully, Malta does not use nuclear energy for power generation and has no plans to develop nuclear energy in the future. On the other hand other European countries like the UK with its 23 nuclear reactors, would be required to double its capacity to cut emissions by no more than 8%. Globally, tripling nuclear capacity by 2050 might contribute 12.5%-20% to the necessary emission reductions. But such scenarios -- one plant every two weeks -- have no link to political reality, and the costs would be astronomic. Compare this to the 20% reduction of energy consumption the European Union can achieve by 2020 (30 years earlier) at zero net costs, as the European Commission has pointed out.

Nuclear power is horrendously expensive and comes with high opportunity costs: Every Euro spent on new nuclear power could save ten times more emissions if it was invested in energy conservation measures -- thus also securing energy supply ten times cheaper.

Also, experience indicates that nuclear power will not be able to compete with renewable energies without huge amounts of state aid. That nuclear power today produces on third of Europe’s electricity is due to political that created favourable market conditions: Since 1974, the EU’s governments spent more than €46.2 billion for nuclear research.

Most of the costs of a (however likely) serious nuclear accident will be borne by society and not by the plant operator’s insurance. There is a huge gap between the expected costs of decommissioning and waste storage of the currently operating plants in the EU and the money set aside for that purpose by the operators.

Friends of the Earth Malta welcomes the EU’s commitment to ensure “that the real costs, advantages and drawbacks of nuclear power are identified for a well-informed, objective and transparent debate”. If such an assessment will include all aspects of nuclear power, including the costs of waste storage for thousands of years and the potential impacts of a serious nuclear accident, common economic sense will send nuclear power finally into the museum.

Our appetite to pork and beef is not just clogging our arteries; it’s grilling the Earth too.

Eating one kilogram of beef produces more greenhouse gas emissions than driving for three hours while leaving the lights on at home, according to a new study that examines the CO2 emissions resulting from bringing an average beef cow to market.

These startling conclusions come out of a recent study lead by Akifumi Ogino of the National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science in Tsukuba, Japan. Mr. Ogino and his team assessed the effects of beef production on global warming, water quality, and energy consumption.

cowsThe problem is that rearing livestock uses a lot of grain that could otherwise directly feed people. It takes 8 or 9 kilos of grain to produce 1 kilo of beef, for example. Similarly, it takes around 20 square metres of land to produce each kilo of beef while only 0.3 square metres can produce the same amount of vegetables. As China and India, the world’s two most populous nations, increasingly turn to meat, the strain is also showing on world food supplies.


Ranching is also one of the main drivers of deforestation worldwide, while overgrazing is turning a fifth of all pastures and rangeland into desert. And it takes a staggering 990 litres of water to produce just 1 litre of milk.
Most of the greenhouse gas emissions are in the form of methane released from the animals' digestive systems. What is even more alarming is that over two-thirds of the energy goes towards producing and transporting the animals' feed. In fact this study did not include the impact of managing farm infrastructure and transporting the meat, so the total environmental cost is much higher than the study suggests.

Rajendra Pachauri, the head of the U.N.'s Nobel Prize–winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, urges people around the world to cut back on meat in order to combat climate change.

He suggests cutting down on meat at least for one day a week, at least initially. In the short term this will have the biggest impact.


Going vegetarian and buying your fresh local produce is obviously the better option. But perhaps it’s not too much to ask that when the choice is to eat meat, it should be in moderation and with some regard for the needs of the poor and the planet, neither of which have any choice at all.

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