Carbon-neutrality targets placing stress on Maltese businesses, says lobby

Malta Business Bureau says 2040 target for 90% reduction in emissions placing excessive reporting requirements on small businesses

The Maltese business lobby in Brussels has said ambitious climate neutrality targets set by the European Commission are placing great stress on businesses due to excessive reporting requirements and disproportionate implementation costs.

Malta Business Bureau President Alison Mizzi said the risks of carbon leakage from EU to non-EU countries was also degrading economic competitiveness.

The European Commission has recommended to reduce the EU’s net greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 90% by 2040, compared to 1990 levels, a significant step towards achieving climate neutrality by 2050, which is at the heart of the European Green Deal.

In the last five years, climate change has caused an estimated €170 billion of economic damage. The target be discussed with the European Parliament and the Member States. The next Commission will put forward legislative proposals on that basis.

But Mizzi said EU policymakers had to ground climate rules “in realism” and account for the different obstacles or limitations faced by specific regions and industries. “This includes ensuring that the post-2030 policy framework provides adequate support and incentives for the most affected and vulnerable actors, especially SMEs.”

Mizzi said the MBB would engage with the EU institutions to put forward the Maltese business perspective. “Only through a collaborative and participatory approach, one can ensure a smooth, and competitive transition to a climate-neutral Europe,” she said.

“The MBB supports climate neutrality by 2050 and acknowledges that intermediary targets are necessary to provide a gradual transition for all stakeholders, including businesses; but we caution on the competitiveness impact and additional burdens that businesses may continue facing,” Mizzi said.

“Businesses continue to be at the centre of the green transition through their contribution towards innovation, and their readiness to invest. Every day they look into novel solutions to reduce their environmental impact, through renewables, energy efficient solutions, circular economy solutions, and so on, when conditions are favourable.”

The Malta Business Bureau is the EU business advisory organisation of The Malta Chamber and the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association. The MBB is also a partner of the Enterprise Europe Network.


Commission proposals

The EU is charting the path to reach the goal of making the European Union climate neutral by 2050. It recommends a 90% net greenhouse gas emissions reduction by 2040 compared to 1990 levels, which is in line with recent scientific advice and the EU’s commitments under the Paris Agreement.

The following actions will be needed to achieve the 90% reduction target by 2040:

·       fully implement existing EU laws to reduce emissions by at least 55% by 2030

·       decarbonise industry by relying on existing strengths like wind power, hydropower, and electrolysers. To step up this work strand, the Commission has put forward new measures to manage carbon emissions by industry in the EU that will see investment in technologies that can capture and store carbon, and re-use it

·       increase domestic manufacturing in growth sectors like batteries, electric vehicles, heat pumps, solar cells and others

·       keep fairness, solidarity and social policies at the core of the transition, helping vulnerable citizens, regions, businesses and workers through tools such as the Social Climate Fund and Just Transition Fund

·       have an open dialogue with all concerned, including farmers, businesses, social partners and citizens