Maltese back taxes for climate transition after summer heatwave

In July, the Maltese experienced a 10-day heat wave that washed over the islands, with air temperature exceeding the 40°C mark on six days

After another challenging year marked not only by inflation but also by record heatwaves and droughts, Maltese respondents to the Climate Survey of the European Investment Bank have said they are now more acutely aware of the profound impact of climate change and the need for immediate action in Malta and around the world.

While the rising cost of living is considered the number one challenge for Maltese respondents – 78% placed it in the top three concerns for their country, 10 points above the EU average – climate change impacts and environmental degradation are not far behind, with 67% considering them a major concern (17 points above the EU average).

This is the EIB’s sixth edition of its Climate Survey, which since 2018 offers insights into the climate change-related views of people in major economies around the world. The EIB is the lending arm of the European Union and the world’s largest multilateral lender for climate action projects.

Earlier this year, the Maltese experienced a 10-day heat wave that washed over the islands, with air temperature exceeding the 40°C mark on six days. The heatwave peaked on 24 July, when a maximum temperature of 42.7°C was recorded – 11°C higher than the maximum temperature norm for the month.

Demand for a just transition at home

Faced with the high cost of living, most Maltese respondents are calling for fair policies to address the climate emergency. 65% - close to the EU average – say the transition to a low-carbon economy can only happen if social and economic inequalities are addressed at the same time.

However, respondents are more split regarding the government’s ability to carry out such a just climate transition – 52% say they are confident, and then still 14 points above the EU average of 38%.

Even on the question of compensation to developing countries to help them deal with the impacts of climate change, most Maltese respondents are in favour of extending aid to countries most vulnerable to climate change.

Taxes for just transition

The EIB survey results also show that the vast majority of Maltese respondents – 73%, 14 points above the EU average of 59% – are willing to pay more income tax to help lower-income households cope with the costs of a green transition. 44% would agree to pay an extra 1-2% of their income and 29% would agree to an extra 5-10%.

There is also strong consensus in favour of other kinds of climate-related policies. For example, 93% said they would favour a fossil fuel tax reform to eliminate subsidies and tax breaks for the aviation sector and other industries that rely heavily on fossil fuels.

“Small islands are among the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change,” said EIB Vice-President Gelsomina Vigliotti. “This is shown by the latest EIB Climate Survey, which underlines how people in Malta are more concerned than those in other countries about the climate emergency and environmental degradation. The EIB has taken special care to help climate projects benefit small islands. As the EU climate bank, we stand ready to further support climate action in Europe and beyond.”