The Malta Independent 30 November 2022, Wednesday
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The race against climate change

Alfred Sant MEP Monday, 21 November 2022, 08:00 Last update: about 9 days ago

We are in a desperate race to counter global climate warming in time -- so we are told, not least as recently as at the COP conference in Sharm el-Sheikh. But no matter what you read or who you speak to -- the analyses being made of what is occurring remain uniformly pessimistic in tone. UN secretary general Gutierrez was indeed among those most publicly pessimistic. He warned that it’s as if we’re pressing the accelerator of a car that’s carrying us straight to hell.

On paper everyone agrees about the urgency of what needs to be done. But then when push comes to shove, everybody tries to secure some separate arrangement which ends up paralysing the agreements that could have been reached. Meanwhile, some accept all the goals that are set but then fail to carry them out.

There can be little doubt that the targets which scientists have considered as being indispensable will not be reached. Less onerous compromises will be found which perhaps will also not be honoured.

And there are still people who despite the turbulences experienced in the weather during past years, continue to assert that the scientists and people who agree with them are exagerrating. When humanity will finally discover who of the two camps was correct, hopefully it will not be too late.

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TERRORISM

Efforts are being made, including at the European Parliament, to label Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism because of the operations it launched during the ongoing Ukraine war. The Parliaments of the Baltic states have passed resolutions making this claim.

I doubt though whether it makes sense. When one declares that a state is promoting terrorism one is indicating a quite precisely defined type of endeavour. I do not see how this fits what the actions attrubted to the Russians. These could be labelled crimes of war, if you like; barbaric attacks on civilians; even perhaps genocide. All wars make this happen -- which is why all wars should be condemned, including the one in Ukraine.

However there’s no value added to be gained by creating confusion about what is happening, even in such a brutal and horrible context like that of war.

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THE CHEAP AND THE EXPENSIVE

I met people coming back from a European holiday who go on to tell you how they happened on prices sometimes much cheaper than in Malta. Restaurant meals, clothes, even electronic goods. Now in Malta the inflation rate is well below that in other European countries. So what’s happening?

According to a friend of mine, there is a very simple explanation. With Covid, many shops and businesses lost sales and risked the worst. As soon as problems began to fade away, they had to recover by trying to maximise their sales income. How could they do so? Here, a different approach was chosen compared to elsewhere. With the end of the pandemic, people would be having more funds available to spend  since they had been kept back from buying what they wanted. So now they would be prepared to spend enthusiastically.

In Malta prices were increaed in the expectation that this would directly compensate for past losses. In other European countries, prices were decreased so that an increase in volume sales would bring with it bigger earnings.

                       

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