As a Mediterranean country, Malta is well accustomed to long and hot summers and mild and rainy winters, but it’s no illusion the climate feels to be getting hotter than usual.
We are seeing days very similar to the one of last January, where the island registered a relatively scorching temperature of 25.9°C, the hottest ever for that month in Malta’s recorded history.
Climate change is a global phenomenon that is impacting lives and livelihoods around the world, and Malta is no exception.
As a result, we are now experiencing an increase in strong sunshine and high temperatures and drier and shorter winters, and the pattern is expected to continue unless serious action is taken.
We’ve all heard of the impacts of climate change – the amount of greenhouse gases have risen significantly since the Industrial Revolution, trapping the sun’s heat, warming the planet and throwing the global climate out of balance.
Nature is like a chain – remove one link and it could have serious consequences on everything else.
From extreme weather events to rising sea levels and melting ice caps, the world is starting to wake up to the implications of climate change. In Malta’s case, rising temperatures are already harming the island’s already-limited freshwater supply, which is in turn causing immediate food production problems. In the long run, it may pose even more serious environmental and social issues.
So what is Malta doing to tackle this and what else can be done?
For many years Malta has been on the forefront discussing Climate Change in international fora. This culminated in 2015, when Malta joined another 196 countries in signing the Paris Agreement, an international pledge to limit global warming to below 2 degrees, and preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels.
This deal was thrown into some doubt when the United States left it last year, but they have since rejoined under a new administration.
Meanwhile, last year, the European Commission adopted a climate law, which calls for a collective movement towards a climate-neutral EU by 2050. Within 29 years, Malta, along with other member states, must therefore achieve net zero greenhouse emissions, with any emissions balanced out by absorbing gases from the atmosphere.
It might seem like a long way away but getting there will require us to revolutionise the way we travel, produce and use energy, so we must start planning from now.
To this end, these ambitions are embedded in Malta’s post-pandemic economic vision. This change calls for a paradigm shift towards policy-making, which centres around intelligent development principles. And within this line of thought Malta will fulfil its commitment through the adoption of the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS).
But besides government efforts, change must also come on an individual level, which is why the Ministry for the Environment, Climate Change and Planning is launching a #ClimateOn National campaign to encourage people and businesses to take action towards reducing the effects of Climate Change.
From the way we power our homes and the fuel we use to drive our cars to the rearing of animals we eat and the waste we dispose of, every effort will help make a difference to slow down, and eventually even reverse, climate change.
How can Malta do its bit to help tackle climate change? Let us know what you think in the comment section below
Cover image: DOI – Omar Camilleri