Government unambitious, unwilling to tackle energy and transport pollution - ADPD

The Greens said that pollution is the source of many illnesses and that the government delayed action against it since it did not have an immediate and visible impact

The Greens said it was evident that road infrastructure investments had failed to deliver (Photo: ADPD)
The Greens said it was evident that road infrastructure investments had failed to deliver (Photo: ADPD)

ADPD – The Green Party said that government and public authorities lacked ambition and will to decisively and urgently tackle pollution, especially that caused by energy and transport, which accounts for around 80% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions.

During a press conference on Saturday morning, ADPD Secretary General Ralph Cassar said that although the government continuously made a lot of “empty promises” for the sector, it was doing the bare minimum.

Cassar said that the Prime Minister declared at the United Nations that Malta’s focus on the Security Council will be climate change but Energy Minister Miriam Dalli “boasted” in parliament of the energy subsidies being handed out to all.

“In fact, successive governments have failed to lead the country towards greater energy efficiency and use of renewable energy sources. They did the bare minimum, negotiated low targets, and talked the talk without walking the walk just to appear to be taking some sort of action,” Cassar said.

He said that pollution is a source of many illnesses and that the government keeps trumpeting the health expenditure but does not take any action against it (pollution).

Cassar argued that since carbon dioxide is not a visible substance and does not immediately impact people, the governments delayed taking any action on climate change.

“In the energy sector, the cheapest and easiest paths always won the day, as in the case of the interconnectors, which were trumpeted as providing cheap electricity – that are no longer cheap due to the current geopolitical situation. Lack of vision galore,” Cassar said.

He critiqued the country for not emulating the best practices and for not setting high targets. Cassar mentioned how Ireland has a plan for its public sector, to reduce its emissions by 51% by 2030.

“Instead of a serious plan, Malta has a National Energy and Climate Plan with low targets that many times are vague and not ambitious at all. Our country’s target for renewable energy is risible: 11.5% by 2030. It needs to be at least quadrupled for it to be considered serious, ambitious and achievable with sustained effort.”

Cassar argued that the current targets should be revised immediately and that action was required for an investment into diverse, clean and renewable energy sources.

“Years of discussion and studies on wind and wave energy generation have been ignored. What’s more, they are so clueless, that the NECP goes as far as proposing the heresy of road building and widening as one of the measures to combat climate change,” exclaimed Cassar.


ADPD Chairperson Carmel Cacopardo stated that it was always evident that the investments in road infrastructure had failed to deliver the desired results with traffic congestion remaining a daily occurrence.

“In fact, traffic congestion is not the problem to be resolved but is the symptom of a greater problem: that of overdependence of private vehicles, developed over many years mainly due to the dire state of public transport.,” Cacopardo said.

He mentioned how studies abroad had shown that new roads or road widening did not solve the traffic problems but only made it easier for people to use their own vehicles.

The ADPD Chairperson said that the party had already highlighted how the subsidies on petrol and diesel were worsening the situation by giving the impression that the use of the private vehicle can go on unhindered even in a situation where the fuel prices are high.

“We reiterate that the current subsidies are not sustainable. It would have been more beneficial if the subsidies were only applied to those with mobility issues. We must continuously encourage the use of alternative means of transport, including public transport while relying less on private vehicles,” Cacopardo said.

He argued that the promotion of electric vehicles on its own was not a solution and that Malta should aim for fewer cars on the road. Cacopardo added that the second interconnector with Sicily means that Malta would become even more dependent on electricity generated abroad.

“And we all know what happens when the interconnector is damaged or is not functioning for whatever reason,” Cacopardo said.

He said that although public transport was free at the point of use for Maltese residents, it was not coupled with the necessary investment to improve the service and make it more efficient to encourage increased usage.

Cacopardo said that it was documented that around 50% of trips made by private vehicles In Malta took less than 15 minutes; trips that he argued could easily be made through efficient public transport or other means of sustainable mobility.

“It is evident that government and public authorities lack the will to take the necessary decisive action required to control pollution, especially that caused by energy and transport which accounts to around 80% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions […] Our country needs to take the necessary action before it is too late”, concluded Cacopardo.