Lower target for carbon reduction is government's 'certificate of failure', PN says

The Nationalist Party says the Labour government is not credible on its Low Carbon Development Strategy

PN MPs David Thake (left) and Robert Cutajar (centre) with candidate Janice Chetcuti
PN MPs David Thake (left) and Robert Cutajar (centre) with candidate Janice Chetcuti

Environment Minister Aaron Farrugia's boasting that government has set a lower carbon reduction target until 2030 is "a certificate of failure", the Nationalist Party said.

Malta requested that its carbon reduction target set by the EU at 36% be cut to 19%, a move accepted by the European Commission.

But the lower target is nothing more than admission by the government that it has no credibility in implementing a low carbon development strategy, PN spokesperson Robert Cutajar said.

He said the PN has an obligation to put the environment on the forefront of its political agenda.

Cutajar said that the Labour Party has been in government for nine years and has failed to put forward concrete proposals to implement its Low Carbon Development Strategy.

"The government is not credible as it has failed to reach the environmental targets. Biodiversity is being threatened not because of the Opposition but because of the interest of the few. The PN has learnt from its past mistakes but the current government has not," Cutajar said.

He also said that the EU fund of €300 million obliges Malta to spend 37% to combat climate change, not because of any willingness from the government.

PN MP David Thake claimed that the decision taken by the government to lower the carbon emissions target is harmful to people who suffer from asthma and is an admission of incompetence.

He added the government pledge of €40 million to convert buses to work on electricity means that only 1/5 of the current fleet of around 440 buses will be actually converted. According to Thake, it costs half a million Euro to convert one bus.

He was also critical of the government strategy on private electric cars as there is no real infrastructure related to charging networks. Solar farms are no solution according to the PN, as the country does not afford to lose more agricultural land.

PN candidate Janice Chetcuti emphasised the need to seriously address the precarious environmental situation, where the latest heatwaves led to droughts and the loss of greenery around the island.

She said farmers are losing their livelihood due to the droughts and the consumer is having to pay high prices to purchase agricultural produce.

The excessive heat is also increasing the demand for electricity, with regular power cuts due to the high demand and also an increase on the greenhouse gas emissions from the power grid.

When asked whether new PN government would scale back the building zones extended back in 2006, Cutajar called out the hypocrisy of the Labour government that tweaked the development control guidelines in 2015. "We guarantee that we will find balance between the environment and development," he said.