[WATCH] Using the carrot to go green is possible, Miriam Dalli says

Xtra on TVM | Newly-appointed Energy Minister Miriam Dalli talks on her vision for a future with less pollution, cleaner energy and more open spaces

Energy Minister Miriam Dalli
Energy Minister Miriam Dalli

A greener society is possible by incentivising people rather than imposing burdens but this luxury is only available if decisions stop being postponed, Miriam Dalli has warned.

The Energy Minister said issues of pollution and environmental protection are intrinsically intertwined with quality of life.

“When I talk about working towards less pollution and an economy that doesn’t pollute I am talking about a better quality of life… I wish that we will have a situation where we can say that we have made economic success not just because the economy has grown but also because the quality of life has improved from what it was,” she said.

Dalli was being interviewed on TVM’s Xtra on Thursday night. She was recently appointed energy minister with responsibility for sustainable development in Robert Abela’s reshuffled Cabinet.

The former MEP said terms like ‘clean energy’, and ‘decarbonised economy’ are not merely buzzwords in her mind, but rather, a set goal for the future. 

“When we are talking about having a decarbonised economy by 2050, this isn’t just a buzzword for me, but a vision for 30 years’ time – and 30 years are nothing – which we need to start planning for from now,” she said. 

Dalli explained that she returned to Malta and national politics because she believes in the vision that Abela has for Malta’s future, and wishes to use her experience to practice politics in a way that will leave a positive impact on people’s lives. 

“I worked for what I believe in the European Parliament, and in the same way I need to work for what I believe in here,” Dalli said, adding that measures related to pollution, quality of life, and the problem of climate change will remain high on her list of priorities.

Asked by presenter Saviour Balzan how one can go about convincing people to reduce consumption in order to lower pollution levels, the minister said the solution may not necessarily lie in reducing consumption but in turning to cleaner sources of energy.

She acknowledged the uphill struggle in turning this goal into reality but also noted there is more awareness among people on what is at stake in the struggle for environmental and climate protection. 

“I meet people and the level of awareness among them has increased a lot. Nowadays, we have more awareness than ever before that unless we address climate and environmental issues, it will not only be us who suffer but our children as well,” she said.

Dalli said she will be pushing for an increase in the open areas for families and children to enjoy and play in.

Asked about allegations surrounding deals carried out by her predecessors in the sector under her wing, Dalli said that while anyone convicted of wrongdoing should shoulder responsibility, this should not mean the projects themselves should be abandoned.

“These allegations are there and they need to be analysed and investigated but what does the Nationalist Party want? If you have things which were not done well what should we do, turn off the power station and leave the country in darkness? Or see what was not done well and focus on that, and ensure that whoever did something wrong shoulder the responsibility for their actions?”