Malta falls in climate change index over low renewables share

Malta drops 11 spots in Climate Change Performance Index

Malta was dubbed a “medium-performing” country, with high scores on energy use per capita – ranked 11th – and 12th for emissions per capita (Photo: James Bianchi/MaltaToday)
Malta was dubbed a “medium-performing” country, with high scores on energy use per capita – ranked 11th – and 12th for emissions per capita (Photo: James Bianchi/MaltaToday)

Malta has fallen from 18th place in 2023 to 29th place in 2024 in the global Climate Change Performance Index.

As MPs finish two weeks in parliament discussing a new government authority that will group policymakers and experts forging a national strategy on the climate crisis, Malta scores even more poorly this year on national climate policy.

On policy it ranked 56th in the CPPI, and 50th on the share of renewable energy in energy use.

The CCPI uses a standardised framework that compares the climate performance of 63 countries and the EU, which together account for over 90% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Climate mitigation performance is assessed on greenhouse gas emissions, renewables, energy use and climate policy.

Overall Malta was dubbed a “medium-performing” country, with high scores on energy use per capita – ranked 11th – and 12th for emissions per capita.

Postitively, since 2015 Malta has had a Climate Action Act in place that makes climate protection legally binding.

In energy, Malta is also exploring potential offshore renewable energy. The CCPI’s country experts welcome this step but criticise the current low share of renewables (12.2%). They also demand a national renewable energy policy that accelerates clean energy and creates a clear pathway to achieve climate targets.

The index also notes that Malta’s Transport Master Plan for 2025 and Transport Strategy 2050 include strong targets, but the policies lack implementation and enforcement.

On a negative note, the country experts note that Malta is proposing new fossil fuel infrastructure with the Melita TransGas Pipeline. Instead, the report calls on Malta to move away from fossil fuels and phase-out gas by 2035. It also calls for greater investment of public finance in renewable energy for Malta to move away from all fossil fuels and reduce automobile dependency.

The declined performance of Malta is partly attributed to new and updated data on the LULUCF (Land Use, Land-use Change and Forestry) sector. In fact, in terms of greenhouse gases per capita, Malta ranks 11th place when this sector is included but ranks 32nd place when this sector is excluded.   

Most of the CCPI is based on quantitative data, but data for climate policy is assessed annually using a comprehensive questionnaire distributed amongst  climate and energy policy experts from NGOs, universities, and think tanks within the evaluated countries.  The policy score only accounts for 20% of the total score.

Denmark tops this year’s ranking in 4th place, followed by Estonia in 5th place and the Philippines in 6th place. The top three spots were not awarded simply because nobody deserved such a ranking.


Climate Action Authority

A new Climate Action Authority will be obliged to monitor government actions and obligations to reduce carbon emissions, while acting as a science-based advisory body to ensure climate neutrality targets are met.

The authority – financed by a budgetary vote of €1.75 million – will be tasked to implement climate change mitigation and adaptation measures, monitor their impact and coordinate proposals with both public and private entities, and regulate decarbonisation targets and a Climate Action Fund.

Among its responsibilities will be implementing European climate law and policies, as well as having an independent, national climate action council. The council will group climate experts on science, public policy, finance, the economy, and social fields, who will report annually on climate action progress to the ministry.

The CAA will replace what today is known as the Malta Resources Authority.

As a party to the 2015 Paris Agreement, Malta has to submit plans on how it will achieve climate neutrality every five years.

The Climate Action Authority will coordinate national strategies to tackle climate change by bringing together experts, stakeholders, and policymakers to shape climate action with evidence-based and research-based initiatives.

For the first time in recent history, Malta experienced 10 consecutive days of a heatwave with temperatures reaching 42.7 degrees Celsius.

The percentage of renewable sources in Malta today accounts for 13.4% as opposed to less than 2% of all sources back in 2013. Before 2013, renewable energy systems accounted for some 10MW in generation. Today these total 230MW, and up to 800MW when added with clean energy generated by the Delimara plants and the Malta-Sicily interconnector.

The government will invest in a 50MW offshore renewable energy source – a floating solar farm.