Climate change emergency needs concrete action not empty rhetoric, Miriam Dalli says

Labour MEP Miriam Dalli says climate change action requires money to be invested in the transition to ensure social justice

Miriam Dalli says climate change emergency needs to be addressed with concrete action
Miriam Dalli says climate change emergency needs to be addressed with concrete action

Acting on climate change requires the money to finance the necessary transition “as early as next year”, Labour MEP Miriam Dalli said.

She told MEPs on Wednesday that talking of a climate emergency was not enough.

“If your house is on fire you do not press the alarm button and do nothing about it but you make sure that you call the fire brigade to extinguish that fire,” Dalli said.

She was addressing the European Parliament on behalf of the Socialists and Democrats during a debate on climate and ecological emergency. The debate was requested by the S&D.

Dalli called for concrete action that truly reflected the climate change emergency.

“We have had enough of empty rhetoric from those who say that they believe that climate change has to be addressed as a matter of urgency but then duck out when push comes to shove - when the real binding measures that can make a difference are negotiated,” she said.

Dalli called for a long-term economic, social, and environment plan with ambitious legislative proposals, backed by sufficient financial investments and proper enforcement.

“To act on climate change, we need the money to finance the required transition as early as next year. It has to be both private and public money at the member state level and at the EU level too,” she said.

She was reflecting the concern of many ordinary people, who despite being worried about climate change, fear that transitional measures will penalise the poor and those on medium incomes. 

Dalli said achieving carbon neutrality required a “revolutionary transformation” that has the potential to create new jobs, ensure industrial competitiveness, enhance resilience, improve air quality and human health.

The S&D are making several proposals that include an ambitious plan for “deep decarbonisation”, shifting of subsidies from fossil fuels to clean technologies, having in place afforestation and reforestation plans, and having in place “a strong Just Transition Fund that ensures economic, environmental and social progress”.

The centre-left bloc is also calling for decarbonisation of marine transport through energy efficiency and alternative fuels.

Dalli said the choice was either to state that the world is facing a crisis and do nothing about it, or use the challenge to come out stronger and empowered. “We as socialists choose the latter,” she added.

The Maltese parliament on Tuesday approved a climate emergency Bill proposed by the Opposition.

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