[WATCH] Updated | PN wants parliament to declare climate change emergency

The Nationalist Party proposes the creation of a parliamentary committee that would have the power to nominate a superintendent for the climate change emergency 

Delia said that the PN would be tabling a motion in Parliament requesting that the government declare a climate change emergency
Delia said that the PN would be tabling a motion in Parliament requesting that the government declare a climate change emergency

Updated at 3:30pm with statement from the Labour Party

The Nationalist Party is proposing the setting up of a national parliamentary committee responsible for overseeing action related to climate change.

The committee, which would be made up of two Opposition MPs and two from the government, would have the power to nominate a superintendent, Adrian Delia said.

Delia, who was addressing a press conference on Friday, said his party would be tabling a motion in Parliament next week requesting that the government declare a climate change emergency.

Appealing to the government to support the motion, the PN leader said it was only through drastic action that climate change could be addressed and global tragedy averted.

"We want to drive through Greta Thunberg's message [...] that we should be panicking, because in a few years' time the world will arrive at a tipping point, where we won't be able to do anything to reverse the rise in temperature. Unless we do something extreme now, we won't manage to address climate change," Delia said.

Climate change activist Greta Thunberg
Climate change activist Greta Thunberg

He underlined that, after Antarctica, the Mediterranean would be the region on Earth most impacted by climate change. "It is shocking to realise this," he remarked.

Malta, Delia highlighted, was amongst the worst performers in reaching climate change targets. "We have to react and cannot remain silent."

He pointed out that the biggest sources of pollution in Malta was cruise ships. "It is a scientific fact that the pollution caused by cruise ships is 148 times that created by cars."

Asked by MaltaToday whether Malta should take responsibility for the emissions produced by the thousands of ships in its ship registry, in order for the vessels to start paying for the emissions they create through an emissions trading system, Delia said one had to first make a clear distinction between ships registered in Malta and cruise liners docking at our ports.

In the case of ships registered in Malta - many of which might never have sailed in the country's seas - he said he would be in favour of any measures which could address the issue of the emissions they create while still safeguarding the strength of the Maltese ship registry.

When it came to cruise liners which visit the island, he stressed that Malta should strive to attract the least-polluting ships and that it had to look into measures to limit emissions, including having the vessels turn their engines off while docked at the Grand Harbour.

PN's budget proposals include several environmental measures

Nationalist MP Jason Azzopardi said that the budgetary proposals document the PN had issued in September contained several which aimed to strengthen environmental protection.

Amongst them, he mentioned the suggestion to introduce actio poplaris for environmental matters, the creation of a platform where everyone could voice their ideas on environmental protection, the imposition of reasonable time-frame within which a project had to be completed, fiscal incentives for growing a garden on the roof of a building, and giving the Environment and Resources Authority (ERA) the last word on project approval.

PN not credible on environmental matters - Labour Party

In a statement, the Labour Party said the PN was not credible when it came to the environment.

“Jason Azzopardi can’t speak about the environment when he was a cabinet member when the decision was made to approve the biggest extension to development zones in 2006, and when he even change the law to allow the use of Heavy Fuel Oil in the production of electricity,” the party said.