The Malta Independent 27 February 2021, Saturday

Maltese biggest supporters for stricter measures to tackle climate change in EU, new survey shows

Albert Galea Wednesday, 20 January 2021, 09:24 Last update: about 2 months ago

The Maltese are the people most in favour of stricter government measures which would force citizens to change their behaviour to tackle climate change in the European Union, a new bloc-wide survey has shown.

Results from a survey on climate change carried out by the European Investment Bank shows that a whopping 88% of Maltese are in favour of stricter government measures on climate change, especially after the Covid-19 crisis showed that citizens were willing to accept strong government measures in order to fight that crisis.

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It is the highest score registered in the survey, which was held across all 27 European Union countries.

Only people surveyed in Portugal (85%), Italy (80%), Spain (79%), and Romania (77%) came close, with the EU-wide average being 70% in favour of governments implementing stricter measures to tackle climate change.

Asked what the priority of the national government should be in order to deal with the economic crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, 67% of Maltese respondents said that the government should “reorient the economy, ensuring that the economic recovery clearly takes into account the needs of climate action.”  The remaining 33% said that the government should “boost the economy by any means in order to return to economic growth as soon as possible.” 

In terms of the sheer impact of climate change; 87% of Maltese said that climate change had an impact on their daily lives and 79% said that they believed that their own behaviour can make a difference in the fight against climate change.

The only issue is that the Maltese are pretty sure that Malta’s government is not doing enough to be at the forefront of the fight against climate change.

The survey shows that while 73% of Maltese believe that the EU is at the forefront in the fight against climate change when compared to the United States and China, only 23% of those surveyed think that Malta is also at the forefront of the fight against climate change compared with other countries.

Some scant consolation, however, is the fact that only six nations out of 27 received the thumbs up from their respective people: Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Austria, and Romania.

Asked to list the major concerns they have when it comes to climate change, 55% said that rising temperatures, particularly, in the summer, are amongst the concerns which worry them most.  No other country surveyed returned a higher level of concern for this specific category than the Maltese.

Conversely, the Maltese are seemingly amongst the least worried amongst their European counterparts about a possible increase in natural disasters such as storms, floods, wildfires, and droughts.  Only 49% of those surveyed listed this as a major concern – lower than the 64% bloc-wide average – and lower than all EU countries save for Latvia (47%) and Croatia (46%).

53% of Maltese were worried about damage to the natural environment which may be cause by climate change, but perhaps more notably, 25% were worried about how climate change could affect the migration situation.  Only the Czech Republic’s survey returned a larger share of the population being more worried on the latter point, with 26%.

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