Climate change targets derailed by more cars and air-conditioning units

A marked increase in emissions from the transport sector and air-conditioning units, has derailed Malta’s climate change targets according to a country report issued by the European Commission

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James Debono
26 May 2017, 8:30am
Malta was the only EU member state that missed its target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in 2013, 2014 and 2015
Malta was the only EU member state that missed its target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in 2013, 2014 and 2015
A marked increase in emissions from the transport sector and air-conditioning units, has derailed Malta’s climate change targets according to a country report issued by the European Commission.

The report confirms that Malta was the only EU member state that missed its target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

This is attributed to the increase in emissions in hydrofluorocarbons – organic compounds that contain fluorine and hydrogen atoms, most commonly used in air conditioning and as refrigerants. 

The other reason for the increase is the heavier load of greenhouse gas emissions from the transport sector “in the context of economic and population growth.”

The report also reveals that while the country has become more efficient in producing its energy, energy consumption is on the rise.  

In fact while primary energy consumption – which includes the consumption of the energy sector itself – has been reduced by 15% between 2014 and 2015, final energy consumption has increased by 5% in the same period.

Final energy consumption is the total energy consumed by end users, such as households, industry and agriculture. It is the energy which reaches the final consumer’s door and excludes that which is used by the energy sector itself.

The report warns that in view of “buoyant economic activity” achieving the national energy efficiency target “remains a challenge” but the report states that energy efficiency has the “highest potential to further reduce energy costs and raise competitiveness and disposable income.”  The report notes that the government strategy of diversifying sources of energy and upgrading infrastructure has already resulted in lower electricity tariffs for both businesses and households.

The report also warns that in view of natural resource constraints current policies do not appear sufficient to achieve the goals related to green growth and a circular economy.

“There are signs that the existing physical infrastructure may not be sufficient to cope with the current pace of development.”

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James Debono is MaltaToday's chief reporter on environment, planning and land use issues, ...