[WATCH] Malta targets 40% greenhouse gas emissions reduction by 2020

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat addresses the New York climate summit • announces Malta to offer technical support in capacity building to states most vulnerable to climate change

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat addressing last year's United Nations General Assembly
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat addressing last year's United Nations General Assembly
Malta to offer scholarships related to climate action

Greenhouse gas emissions in Malta are to be reduced by 40% by 2020 and beyond compared to 1990 levels in Malta’s energy sector carbon footprint, according to Prime Minister Joseph Muscat.

Addressing the climate summit in New York, Muscat said the energy generation sector is by far Malta’s highest contributor to national greenhouse gas emissions.

“Malta’s opportunities emerging within the energy sector are being fully capitalised. As the energy generation sector is by far Malta’s highest contributor to national GHG emissions, these measures are expected to domestically lead to around a 40% GHG reduction compared to 1990 levels in Malta’s energy sector carbon footprint by 2020 and beyond,” Muscat said at the U.N. climate summit.

The UN General Assembly meeting, which has marked climate change as one of its top issues, saw actor Leonardo DiCaprio addressing world leaders at the Summit.

Malta’s National Energy Efficiency Action Plan and the National Renewable Energy Action Plan outline the drive to increase energy efficiency, particularly from an end-use perspective, and the promotion of renewable energy sources as the major steps that had to be taken.

The government is now drafting a Climate Action Act, which will ensure that the mitigation and adaptation of the policies are effectively implements. The Act will ensure that legal measures for all sectors will be under pinned to set up the required institutional capacity to monitor, review and verify our reduction targets and adaptation measures, secure better climate governance and ensure the necessary forward planning. 

In his opening remarks, Muscat told world leaders that Malta had always been on the forefront in advocating climate action.

“This legacy is proudly engrained in the history of our nation, particularly this year as we celebrate our nation’s fiftieth year of independence,” he said.

“Our resilience as a nation depends on what kind of added-value we can give in this new geopolitical world order of the 21st century.”

Reiterating Malta’s determination to switch to a low carbon economy, Muscat said the island had to overcome significant challenges to meet its greenhouse gas objectives within the EU.

“We remain committed to forge ahead and to identify any possible opportunities that aim for further reductions. Like other EU Member States we have experienced the decoupling of economic and emissions growth. Since 1990 to date, our GDP has grown by 260%, yet our GHG emissions per unit GDP have decreased by 55%.”

Malta, as part of its climate finance commitment, will be offering technical support as capacity building to States most vulnerable to climate change. 

It will offer nationals from these states, scholarships in undergraduate/postgraduate studies related to climate action at the University of Malta and providing assistance and training at a policy making, vocational and institutional level.

“Our aim to become an energy hub in the Mediterranean region; by exploiting the possibilities of renewable energy across borders and the island’s potential as a gas supply hub with a link to gas fields in North Africa to Europe,” Muscat said.

In 2015, Malta will host the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). The meeting will serve as another opportunity for Commonwealth leader to continue discussing global issues.

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