Government inaction on Climate Change

Local organisations are criticising the inaction, irresponsibility and inconsistency in the government’s approach to climate change. Precious time has been wasted by past and present policy-makers while repeatedly missing targets on greenhouse gas emissions, renewable energy production, and waste management. This is now costing us our quality of life, and will increasingly continue to do so for future generations in Malta.

The recently published Sixth Assessment Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) paints a damning outlook on the world as a result of decades of inaction in the face of human-induced climate change. The report projects intense desertification and increased fire risk in the Mediterranean by 2050 unless we keep global warming below 2°C, a legal commitment governments made in The Paris Agreement in 2015 but are failing to keep. This summer is presenting a foretaste of these projections.

Back in 2019, the Maltese parliament declared a climate emergency, but to no tangible end. Ministers occupy themselves with cosmetic projects and PR stunts while missing previously set targets by a mile. On 12th August, Minister Farrugia even declared down-negotiating Malta’s target emission reduction from 36% by 2030 to 19%. This not only betrays a stark lack of ambition, but demonstrates an underappreciation of the urgency of the situation. Rather than tackling ultimate causes, the Government launches expensive projects of questionable intentions and doubtful results. High maintenance “carbon neutral” gimmicks, whose carbon costs of production and upkeep are not factored in, take the place of serious environment conservation and restoration – rewilding is more effective at climate change mitigation. The Government keeps pushing an approach based on unsustainable economic growth instead of a fair distribution of wealth in a “post-growth” world, at great environmental and social costs. This is the approach that led us to a climate catastrophe in the first place and presents a vicious cycle. Using our air, land and sea resources to bolster the profits of big business is leading to widening inequalities and severe social hardships that are bound to worsen due to climate change.

To add insult to injury, the government is simultaneously allowing the activities most damaging to the local climate and biodiversity to continue and flourish unhindered; cementing private car dependency, promoting over-construction which accentuates the urban heat island effect and uses unsustainable materials (Portland cement production accounts for 27% of global CO2 emissions), authorising rampant soil sealing byprivate and public ventures, not seriously addressing water scarcity and food security issues due to worsen, jeopardising the natural terrestrial and marine environments which could act as a carbon sink, and making no real commitment to halt biodiversity loss. There is no plan to address inevitable sea level rise, which would drown coastal infrastructure, shorelines, and result in the final destruction of our mean sea level water table in the lifetime of children alive today. Water security plans are still amorphous, and the farming community is being actively crushed by bad policy decisions as food security concerns mount.

While Malta’s role in global emissions may be insignificant, it is no excuse to avoid launching serious mitigation and adaptation measures that ensure some quality of life for current and future generations living on the Maltese Islands. Climate policy should be at the core of every decision being made for the future of our country, as it addresses systemic concerns that have led to this dire situation. The current greenwashing and a “business as usual” attitude points to poor governance unwilling to recognise the challenges ahead. We assert that we are holding past and current decision makers personally responsible for the tangible deterioration of our livelihood and natural heritage by their inaction.

This PR is endorsed by:

  • Attard Residents Environmental Network (AREN)
  • BirdLife Malta
  • Din l-Art Ħelwa
  • Extinction Rebellion Malta
  • Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar
  • Friends of the Earth Malta
  • MaYA Foundation
  • Moviment Graffitti
  • Nature Trust Malta
  • ORCA Malta
  • Rota
  • The Archaeological Society Malta
  • The Biological Conservation Research Foundation, BICREF
  • The ‘Grow 10 Trees’ Project
  • The Ramblers’ Association of Malta
  • Żminijietna – Voice of the Left

Stqarrija Stampa 16/08/2021
Nuqqas ta’ azzjoni mill-Gvern fuq it-tibdil fil-klima

Organizzazzjonijiet lokali qedgħin jikkritikaw in-nuqqas ta’ azzjoni, l-irresponsabbilta’, u l- inkonsistenza fl-approċċ tal-gvern għat-tibdil fil-klima. Ħin prezzjuz ġie moħli minn dawk li jfasslu l-politika kemm fil-passat u fil-preżent filwaqt li ripetutament naqsu mill-miri dwar l- emissjonijiet tal-gassijiet serra, il-produzzjoni tal-enerġija rinnovabbli, u l-immaniġġjar tal- iskart. Dan issa qed jiswielna l-kwalita’ tal-ħajja tagħna, u dejjem se jkompli jiġri hekk għall- ġenerazzjonijiet futuri f’Malta.

Is-Sitt Rapport ta’ Valutazzjoni ippubblikat reċentament mill-Bord Intergovernattiv dwar it- Tibdil fil-Klima (IPCC) jpinġi stampa kundanabbli ħafna tad-dinja bħala riżultat ta’ għexieren ta’ snin ta’ nuqqas ta’ azzjoni fuq il-bidla fil-klima ikkawżata mill-bniedem. Ir-rapport jipproġetta deżertifikazzjoni intensa u żieda fir-riskju ta’ nirien fil-Mediterran sal-2050 sakemm ma nżommux it-tisħin globali taħt iż-2°C, impenn legali li l-gvernijiet ħadu fil-Ftehim ta’ Pariġi fl-2015 iżda li jonqsu li jżommu. Dan is-sajf qed jagħtina biss togħma ta’ dawn il- projezzjonijiet.

Lura fl-2019, il-parlament Malti iddikjara emerġenza klimatika, għall-ebda għan tanġibbli. Il- Ministri jokkupaw lilhom infushom bi proġetti kosmetiċi u stunts tal-PR waqt li jibqgħu jonqsu mill-miri stabbilit b’mil. Fit-12 ta’ Awwissu, il-Ministru Aaron Farrugia saħansitra iddikjara li qed jinnegozja t-tnaqqis fil-mira tal-emissjonijiet ta’ Malta minn 36% sal-2030 għal 19%. Dan mhux biss jittradixxi nuqqas qawwi ta’ ambizzjoni, iżda juri nuqqas ta’ apprezzament għall- urġenza tas-sitwazzjoni. Minflok ma jindirizza l-kawża aħħarija, il-Gvern iniedi proġetti għaljin ta’ intenzjonijiet u riżultati dubjużi. Gimmicks ta’ carbon neutral b’manutenzjoni għolja, li l- ispejjeż tal-produzzjoni u l-manutenzjoni tal-karbonju tagħhom ma jiġux ikkunsidrati, jieħdu l-post ta’ konservazzjoni u restawr serju tal-ambjent – l-ambjent selvaġġ u mhux mittiefes huwa iktar effettiv fil-mitigazzjoni tat-tibdil fil-klima. Il-Gvern qed jibqa’ jimbotta approċċ ibbażat fuq it-tkabbir ekonomiku mhux sostenibbli minflok fuq distribuzzjoni ġusta tal-ġid f’dinja “wara t-tkabbir”, bi spejjeż ambjentali u soċjali kbar. Dan huwa l-approċċ li wassalna għal katastrofi klimatika u jippreżenta ċiklu vizzjuz. L-użu tar-riżorsi tal-ajru, tal-art u tal-baħar tagħna biex insaħħu l-profitti tan-negozju l-kbir qed iwassal għal inugwaljanzi li dejjem qed jiżdiedu u tbatijiet soċjali severi li se jibqgħu imorru għall-agħar minħabba t-tibdil fil-klima.

Biex ikompli jitfa’ l-melħ fil-ferita, il-Gvern qed jippermetti fl-istess ħin li l-attivitajiet li jagħmlu l-iktar ħsara lill-klima u l-bijodiversita’ lokali jkomplu jikbru mingħajr xkiel; isaħħaħ id- dipendenza fuq il-karozzi privati, jippromwovi kostruzzjoni żejda li tenfasizza l-effett tal-gżira urbana tas-sħana u tuża materjali mhux sostenibbli (il-produzzjoni tas-siment ta’ Portland tammonta għal 72% tal-emissjonijiet globali tas-CO2), li jawtorizza ssiġillar rampanti tal- ħamrija minn impriżi privati u pubbliċi, ma jindirizzax serjament l-iskarsezza tal-ilma u n- nuqqas ta’ sigurta’ tal-ikel li se jkomplu jmorru għall-agħar, jipperikola l-ambjent naturali tal- art u tal-baħar li jistgħu jaġixxu bħala sink tal-karbonju, u ma jagħmel l-ebda impenn reali biex iwaqqaf il-qerda tal-bijodiversita’. M’hemm l-ebda pjan biex tiġi indirizzata ż-żieda tal-livell tal-baħar li tista’ tgħerreq l-infrastruttura kostali, ix-xtut, u tirriżulta fil-qerda finali tal-livell medju tal-ilma tal-baħar tagħna tul il-ħajja tat-tfal ħajjin illum. Il-pjanijiet tas-sigurta’ tal-ilma għadhom amorfi, u l-komunita’ tal-biedja qed tiġi mgħaffġa b’mod attiv minn deċizjonijiet ħżiena hekk kif qed jiżdied it-tħassib dwar is-sigurta’ tal-ikel.

Filwaqt li r-rwol ta’ Malta fl-emissjonijiet globali jista’ jkun insinifikanti, din mhix skuża biex il- gvern jevita li jniedi miżuri serji ta’ mitigazzjoni u adattament li jiżguraw kwalita’ ta’ ħajja għall- ġenerazzjonijiet preżenti u futuri li jgħixu fil-Gżejjer Maltin. Il-politika dwar il-klima għandha tkun fil-qalba ta’ kull deċiżjoni li tittieħed għall-futur ta’ pajjiżna, billi tindirizza tħassib sistemiku li wassal għal din is-sitwazzjoni. Il-greenwashing attwali u attitudni ta’ li kollox jiba’ għaddej kif inhu jindikaw governanza fqira li ma tridx tagħraf l-isfidi li ġejjin. Aħna nsostnu li qed inżommu lil dawk li jieħdu d-deċiżjonijiet, passati u attwali, personalment responsabbli għad-deterjorament tanġibbli tal-għixien tagħna u tal-wirt naturali minħabba n-nuqqas ta’ azzjoni tagħhom.

Organizzazjonijiet:

  • Attard Residents Environmental Network (AREN)
  • BirdLife Malta
  • Din l-Art Ħelwa
  • Extinction Rebellion Malta
  • Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar
  • Friends of the Earth Malta
  • MaYA Foundation
  • Moviment Graffitti
  • Nature Trust Malta
  • ORCA Malta
  • Rota
  • The Archaeological Society Malta
  • The Biological Conservation Research Foundation, BICREF
  • The ‘Grow 10 Trees’ Project
  • The Ramblers’ Association of Malta
  • Żminijietna – Voice of the Left