Super yachts and private jets are not climate action!

Super yachts and private jets are not climate action!

We need urgent measures to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions; instead Government invites the world’s ultra-rich to our ports and airport with tax cuts to pollute more. 

This year’s budget talks about growing the aviation industry, as well as promoting the business of aircraft leasing. Malta’s VAT regulations already provide lower VAT rates for private and commercial airplanes for leasing. The Transport Ministry is also actively fighting against any fuel tax for private jets, a sector which is on the rise, with more than 2,000 private flights in 2022; a ten-fold doubling in just two years. Also announced in the budget was a new policy on super yachts, which was later followed by a press conference with a clear message that this would mean “new marinas”, despite repeated protests by residents of seaside towns such as Marsaskala and Birgu. These industries are propped up by public funds and inflated by proposed initiatives such as a “national sensitisation campaign for the superyacht industry”. In actual fact, they are creating environmental and social injustice: taking away public spaces from residents, bringing polluting sectors to our shores, while allowing these polluters to not pay (in stark contrast to the “polluter pays principle” considered key in environmental policy). 

Ironically, in the very same budget speech, the government declared setting up yet another authority: the “climate action authority”. What remit and power will this ‘authority’ have exactly, if the Transport Ministry – responsible for one of the most polluting sectors in our country, with the transport sector’s CO2 emissions making up 39% of Malta’s total – is directly undermining its efforts? Has government forgotten we live in a time of climate crisis? Will the Climate Action Authority approve of these decisions that drive us towards climate breakdown? 

Promoting polluting industries goes completely contrary to the green transition and our country’s plans and promises to become carbon neutral by 2050. The green transition should be based on real solutions to the climate crisis, which contribute to a full and fast phase-out of fossil fuels. Polluting industries such as super yachts and private jets only benefit the wealthy, who already excessively and disproportionately contribute to climate change with their lavish lifestyles. 

Samuel Muscat (MSc Sustainable Energy) – volunteer, Friends of the Earth Malta

Suzanne Maas (PhD Sustainable Mobility) – Climate Campaign Coordinator, Friends of the Earth Malta

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