Climate change: AD calls on government to do its part

'Reducing the country's dependence on fossil fuels is an opportunity to, reduce the impact on the climate, clean the air, reduce pollution and build a modern, sustainable green economy'

Alternattiva Demokratika – the Green Party urged government to do its part in the global effort to reduce emissions and tackle the world’s fossil fuel-driven economy.

Addressing a press conference in Valletta, AD chairperson Arnold Cassola welcomed the conclusions of the Paris COP21 Climate Change summit with efforts to tackle climate change effectively.

He pointed out that countries such as Saudi Arabia, despite being extremely wealthy, were resisting changes to their economy and were “shamefully refusing” to help poor countries.

“It is extremely important that the Paris COP21 conference results in a strong commitment to tackle climate change. Climate change impacts our health, our economy and as an island threatens our coasts through rising sea levels,” AD deputy chairman Carmel Cacopardo said.

Cacopardo said that even though the government approved a National Sustainable Development Plan in 2008, the plan remained on paper and was completely ignored.

“Malta too must do its part to reduce its effects on the climate by seriously promoting and investing in renewable energy and the drastic reduction of cars on the road through effective mass transportation systems,” he said.

“There is also a need to speed up the process to reduce waste, particularly organic waste, and move from the pilot project phase to a country wide system to tackle this waste stream.”

Cacopardo spoke of the urgent need for a national Carbon Budget with specific targets.

“Reducing the country's dependence on fossil fuels is an opportunity to, reduce the impact on the climate, clean the air, reduce pollution and build a modern, sustainable green economy.”

AD spokesperson on transport and energy, Ralph Cassar, expressed the hope that the Paris accords, despite its shortcomings, will provide a good basis to get developed countries to carry their responsibility and help the most vulnerable countries to develop sustainably.

“We welcome the measures to keep temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius and the efforts to limit the rise to not more than 1.5 degrees Celcius,” Cassar said.

“We hope that the measures agreed on will really be effective and bind countries to take real and effective action. It is encouraging that 195 countries came together to push for an effective agreement.”

He said, that the fact that the climate agreement will be revised periodically to make sure that the targets are reached is positive.

“We cannot but notice the change in attitude from the previous climate summits, the change in attitude of the USA and China and the push in

favour of an effective agreement by countries such as Brasil. The efforts of Pope Francis and civil society to keep up pressure on policy makers to come to an effective agreement is laudable and hopefully will bear fruit."

During the press conference, AD activists wore high-visibility vests to emphasise the importance of tackling climate change. The vests carried the European Green Party's message: 'There is no Planet B'.

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