Malta can only achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 if we have clear, intermediate targets for 2030 and 2040, Malta’s Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Sustainable Development Miriam Dalli has said.
“These are needed to avoid any room for postponing the required action, and this is why the European Union plays a pivotal role to help governments, companies, businesses and SMEs with the transition,” she explained.
Dalli spoke to Lovin Malta after Bill Gates rubbished international pledges to achieve carbon neutrality in the upcoming decades in an interview with The Guardian.
While she may be more optimistic about reaching climate goals, Dalli shares Bill Gates’ belief that it will take an insurmountable amount of political will to get there. While it will be an arduous task, recent global events have proven that it is possible.
“We don’t need to think far off to understand the threats of climate change: COVID-19. Global warming and climate instability play an increasingly important role in the global emergence, resurgence and transmission of infectious diseases. Studies show that the increase in average temperature can also affect the incidence of animal infectious diseases, spreading to humans.”
“COVID-19 however also showed that governments can mobilize quickly if a threat is taken seriously enough,” Dalli said.
Dalli said that teleworking for example, has been peddled as a proposal over the years, yet few governments and businesses actually invested in it. The COVID-19 pandemic catapulted that shift to remote work and proved that the world can mobilise quickly enough if a threat is taken seriously.
“Many even tried to downplay teleworking, shunning it because they thought that people who telework actually do nothing. Not only were they proved wrong, but COVID-19 made people change their life patterns fast and they did it successfully,” the minister added.
On a local level, Dalli says Malta is on track with its own targets of being completely carbon neutral by 2050.
“Our ongoing commitment and priorities are to meet these goals. Data shows that Malta is well within the targets set in the National Energy Efficiency Action Plan for primary energy consumption. Malta is also doing positively on the Renewable Energy System targets, as last year’s 10% target has already been met.”
This transition, Dalli continued, is about sustainability, efficiency, innovation and a diversified mix of energy sources.
“Therefore, research and innovation are pivotal to develop new technologies and seek efficiency in all sectors. A robust R&I structure will help our islands identify the solutions that best suit us,” she added.
Dalli said that while Malta has its geographic limits, it has shown considerable advancement in technology take-up and implementation.
“Just to mention one, Water Services Corporation is effectively using technology as a tool towards a net-zero impact utility,” Dalli said.
Such technologies, the minister continued, include the optimisation of energy efficiency in Reverse Osmosis plants, optimisation of leakage management and reduction as well as waste-water treatment.
Meanwhile, works are underway to create utilities that do not have an impact on the water environment in line with such global Sustainable Development targets.
In the meantime, the Ministry of Energy, Enterprise and Sustainable Development is looking to introduce more innovative ways to support Malta’s industries on their path to achieve carbon neutrality, particularly through investments from players in the private and financial sectors.
Whether the islands’ keep on track of their climate goals, as Dalli previously said, boils down to political commitment.
To learn more about Malta’s ambitious climate goals, read Lovin Malta’s breakdown here.
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