The Malta Independent 25 March 2023, Saturday
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Paragon Europe launch Malta’s Climate Change Conference at the International Press Association

Wednesday, 14 December 2016, 20:40 Last update: about 7 years ago

Paragon Europe held a very well-attended event at the International Press Club Association in Brussels together with Climate-KIC to introduce a major Climate Change Conference being held under the auspices of the Maltese Presidency of the Council of Europe during May 2017.

Attendees included EU regional offices, private companies and umbrella organisations together with Government representatives, academics, scientists, delegates from the Maltese Permanent Delegation as well as media organisations such as Al-Ahram News, Euractive, EU Observer, Focus Magazine and ANSA.


Paragon Europe are now co-ordinating a Steering Committee which will implement plans agreed with Minister for Sustainable Development, the Environment and Climate Change Dr. José Herrera around the major themes for the conference: mobility and decarbonisation, circular economy, urbanisation and financial instruments to achieve the planned actions.

The event entitled "Climate Change Challenges in the Mediterranean under Malta's EU Presidency" was opened by Paragon Europe chairman Edwin Ward who stated that if global warming continues on its upward path, and if climate change is not mitigated by reducing global greenhouse gas emissions, within the next 30 years Malta could be very different to how we know it today - at worst, it may become an arid, thirsty, overheated rock.

Mr. Ward cited a report from late 2014 by a climatologist at the University of Prince Edward Island, which gave a stark warning of what lies in wait for Malta as a result of alterations in temperature over the next three decades, which he forecasts will see a further gradual increase of two degrees by 2050, on top of the increase of almost one degree that has already occurred since 1984.

Paragon Europe's Chairman went on to say that global warming will affect Malta in many ways. The impact of climate change will lead to more extreme and haphazard weather patterns, with prolonged Saharan-style heatwaves, more intense rainy periods and longer dryer spells. The escalating rise in temperature will be accompanied by severe water shortages as rainfall in Malta is drastically reduced by some 12 per cent, which is significant when the aquifer is already in a critical state. Mr. Ward said that in fact, Paragon Europe are currently involved in an innovative technology project to artificially recharge the aquifer.

Other speakers included Bertrand van Ee, Senior Adviser to EIT Climate-KIC, Dr. Mike Cherrett, Director for External Partnerships at EIT Climate-KIC, Paragon Europe CEO Dr. Anton Theuma, Paragon Europe Executive Director Dr. Nadia Theuma and Edward Vernon, Environment Unit Co-Ordinator from Malta's Permanent Representation to the EU.

Anton Theuma emphasised the role that innovation would play in confronting the challenges of climate change and expressed the belief that Malta was moving towards the concrete realisation of hosting an innovation hub on the islands. Dr. Theuma said that there was a great deal of misunderstanding around the term innovation and that conferences of the sort being organised by Paragon Europe in both Malta and Brussels highlighted the need for a more co-ordinated approach to the topic.

Bertrand van Ee explained how challenge-led innovation was driving positive change in developing approaches and technologies to confront climate change. Dr. Mike Cherrett gave an overview of EIT Climate-KIC's global network and showcased a number of successful projects supported by Climate-KIC.

Paragon Europe Executive Director Dr. Nadia Theuma gave insights into some of the projects and actions undertaken by Paragon Europe to address climate change issues in Malta such as FREEWAT, MARSOL, Bike2Work, and The Traffic Snake Game.Edward Vernon presented the priorities of Malta's EU Presidency and stated that Malta will be pushing a number of initiatives as part of Malta's Presidency agenda in many areas, including Maritime and Mediterranean, and stated that the May 2017 conference was a step forward in bringing stakeholders together to address some of Malta's most serious climate challenges.

In summing up Mr. Ward said that Paragon Europe are proud to lead this initiative from the front as the the national contact point for Climate-KIC, and for the European hydrogen programme, to be Malta's representative in MEDENER and in MEDCOP, to be active members in ERRIN leading their S3 Working Group, and as pioneer founders of clusters. "This is part of what we mean when we say 'Realising Excellence'," concluded Mr. Ward. 

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