Delivering our vision

My target has been, and will continue to be, one: that of ensuring economic stability, environmental protection and social justice. One does not exist without the others

When I joined the Maltese Parliament, many had asked me about the rationale behind my decision for leaving Brussels, and how would I use that experience to contribute to Malta in general and the energy sector in particular? It was a justified question, given that my portfolio in the European Parliament covered the energy sector, not only because of my role as S&D coordinator in the EP’s environment committee, but also due to my position as S&D Vice President for the European Green Deal.

The move also followed the Prime Minister’s bold declaration back in September that Malta would be working towards achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. This would also be in line with the EU’s own 2050 aims.

Speaking about achieving carbon neutrality and protecting our climate requires a robust plan and a clear vision – something which the Labour Government is focusing on and is working on. We are not simply talking about the need to achieve this – ours is not a wish list – but we are mapping out the details of how to get there.

In the process of looking at the long-term target of carbon neutrality, we have to have intermediate targets for 2030 and 2040.

We are actively collaborating with multiple stakeholders, both from the public and private sector. Just to give one clear example targeting CO2 emissions, we are already working with multiple stakeholders to have in place a Sustainable Strategy for Public electric vehicles leading to a tangible action plan. Meanwhile, Enemalta is already running its own EVs pilot project and work is underway to significantly increase the accessibility and number of charging points across Malta and Gozo.

This is not about working in silos, but by bringing in together all the economic and social sectors.

It is about developing support for businesses who want to transition and support the green economy. It’s about creating a strong green economy in the Maltese Islands.

It is about helping households become more efficient, utilise their investment in the best way possible whilst contributing towards the overall implementation programme of our strategy.

The options are there. At this point we are analysing the details of the options in front of us, in terms of their technical and economic feasibility for an island like Malta – a country which is physically isolated from mainland Europe. These solutions must also make market sense, to avoid adding any extra burdens to consumers and businesses.

Ever since the Prime Minister put me in charge of energy, enterprise and sustainable development in late November, my target has been, and will continue to be, one: that of ensuring economic stability, environmental protection and social justice. One does not exist without the others.

The Labour government’s decision to switch from heavy fuel oil as source of energy to LNG, was no mean feat. It resulted in cheaper bills for consumers and businesses; it helped Enemalta get back on its feet from an ailing entity drowning in debt. This meant a direct and much-needed positive impact on the country’s coffers.  It delivered a reduction of CO2 emissions by 50%, the closure of the Marsa Power Station, the decommissioning of the most polluting plant at Delimara and cheaper rates for consumers.

That is not our end game. For me, as a new Minister, the drive towards cleaner energy sources is gaining momentum just now. The approach remains that of economic viability, access to households and businesses, security in the energy sector and low bills matching people’s quality of life.  Whilst we continue to invest in proper energy infrastructure, we aim to retain stability in prices, something which is of utmost importance for business planning and growth.

This administration is effectively working on putting in place the necessary tools to ensure that our sustainability ambitions are met.

In this context, the green bond bye-laws recently approved by the MFSA will make it possible for green bonds to be issued and traded on the Malta Stock Exchange. This indispensable tool will ensure that financial capital flows to green ventures. Maltese businesses who are actively perusing eligible projects that are essential for Malta to achieve its sustainable development goals can now rely on adequate financing prospects. Our objective here is to ensure that we bridge the distance between eco-entrepreneurs and environment conscious investors.

Beyond the talk, serious planning, determination, together with timely and impactful implementation of our policies, are the most contributing factors for the country to achieve its carbon-neutrality objectives based on a serious plan with concrete deliverables.