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Activating climate change

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Activating climate change

Beyond statements of goodwill, addressing climate change requires action, and that is precisely what our country is working hard on. Every measure that promotes renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainable products, the reuse of materials, the recycling and upcycling of products and green investments amongst others, is a measure that contributes towards climate action.

It is our vision and firm determination to increasingly continue providing measures that support this transition. Budget 2023 delivers nothing less: all budgetary measures under Ministry for the Environment, Energy and Enterprise alone, that contribute towards climate change, amount to €156 million, measures that support our country’s efforts to reduce emissions, incentivise efficiency and protect the environment.

Climate action is not only about what we do here in Malta but also how we can show tangible solidarity to developing countries that are worst hit by climate change. Hence why during COP 27 Malta announced that it will be doubling its contribution to the International Climate Fund.

These efforts require the involvement of everyone: from government, to private citizens to businesses. Efforts can overlap, whilst others are very sector-specific. This reality means that better coordination and communication is needed to make sure that these efforts are not only supported, but also communicated. 

For the second year running, we have launched the #ClimateOn campaign. Led by the Environment Ministry, it brought together ministries, entities, academia and the private sector to discuss the challenges, opportunities and solutions that Malta is implementing – and what it can do more. 

This year’s campaign focused on tackling three significant contributors in achieving a greener economy: sustainable mobility, sustainable finance and energy efficiency in buildings. The process of stakeholder dialogue is key in our fight against climate change and we worked to ensure that stakeholders that wish to be part of this change are actually given a platform.

Malta’s vision is clear. We are committed to walk the talk, to be able to meet our targets and truly make a tangible difference. For this reason, 2022 has been a very intensive year for climate action, both at the European level with the finalization of the Fit-for-55 package, as well as at the national level, with the roll-out of the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS). 

The Committee for the effective implementation of the LCDS and the National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP) are now working on the implementation of the integrated national energy and climate plan which is necessary to reach a 19% decrease in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and our decarbonisation target by 2050. 

\Whilst Malta has already been seeing a reduction in carbon emissions, which is more than 60% less, when compared to 2012’s greenhouse gas emissions, efforts are still required to keep this momentum.

The science is there, European targets are set and the government’s plan is in place, clearly showing the urgency with which we must act. Yet the question remains – how will Malta successfully decarbonize Malta’s economy? 

It is estimated that we need to mobilise approximately €12 billion to reach this goal. Today, double that amount – around €25 billion – are lying idle in bank deposits. This means that there is the potential to unlock this private capital for Malta to meet its ambitious climate targets. What we need is the requisite financial plumbing to direct this capital towards sustainable projects that will drive the green transition. The ‘green economy’ that this government has been harping on about, is above all, an economic opportunity. An opportunity to look at climate change from a different perspective. 

Improving technology to address climate change struggles will boost the business models of the companies leading the way. Fighting climate change requires new innovative technology and it does not cause a trade-off with economic growth – a common fear for many years. 

On the contrary, we are incentivising investments, building resilient economies, creating new jobs and improving our overall well-being. 

The challenges are many but the opportunities are endless. Climate action cannot be left unattended. In my term as Minister for the Environment, Energy and Enterprise, I will do my utmost to ensure that climate action will be given priority across the board. We must continue building on the discussions of the #ClimateOn campaign to spur forward the intensive work required to achieve our ambitions for a climate neutral Malta in a climate-neutral Europe by 2050.