The start of a new year leads towards the start of endless possibilities. But 2021 could be the year when the environment finally becomes our number one priority.
2021 is already being described as a critical moment for the world to stave off the effects of climate change. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has made it clear that it’s a “make or break” moment for tackling the issue.
As we look ahead for the months to come, Lovin Malta took a look at how the world may start fighting climate change in 2021 – and the implications can have in the country.
COVID-19 has taught us many things about the world around us. It has taught us the importance of our relationships with those around, but more crucially it has reminded us that the world can still throw things that are completely out of our control to fully prevent – especially if it is not handled swiftly or properly.
And while the pandemic has definitely rocked the lives of people across the world, it has also created a unique change environmentally.
Stimulus packages have been dished out across the globe to help reboot and recover their economies, with the creation of green investments and a green recovery a cornerstone of many.
Leading the charge has so far been the European Union with its Next Generation EU – which has been closely followed by pledges made by Joe Biden’s new administration.
For Malta, the Next Generation EU recovery deal will help towards encouraging the nation into taking environmental impacts and emissions into account when it comes to seeking funding from the EU for initiatives.
Though the government has already stated their pledge towards working towards creating a further diversification of renewable energy sources in Malta, reaching our promised climate targets are still uncertain at present.
Malta is considered to have one of the lowest emissions per capita in the EU and reaching targets for carbon neutrality currently seems like an unassailable task.
The main reasons for this have been attributed towards unfavourable economies of scale and high mitigation costs in achieving this – mostly due to the fact that several sectors will need to be heavily restructured.
Meanwhile, both the EU and Biden administration hope to speed towards decarbonisation through the process of recovering from COVID-19 over the next few years.
Yet, besides the sentiment of wishing to rebuild economies better and greener than they were before, there are also hopes to further drive down the costs of renewable energies globally and – perhaps more importantly – bring countries that lag behind in carbon-cutting, such as Russia, Brazil, Australia, and Saudi Arabia, to return to the fold.
In this regard, they wish to introduce a tax on imports from countries that emit too much carbon compared to their climate pledges. The foundations of these deterrents have already been set through the EU’s discussions of trade talks with New Zealand, which have been previously highlighted in a Politico article.
This trade deal is said to be gaining momentum throughout the EU’s legislative bodies as the way forwards in adhering to green and social standards in future trade deals.
With the year only just beginning, there is a long way to go and ample chances for Malta and the world to propose new, innovative ideas to help prevent what is likely to be the single most existential crisis that we all face in our future.
The COVID-19 pandemic has proven that when the world is united under a single goal, we are able to meet insane deadlines and expectations. Once this pandemic is properly over, it is imperative that the governments of the world take a similar, united approach to battling climate change.
Do you think Malta will step up to further tackle climate change in 2021?