The Malta Independent 3 March 2024, Sunday
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Authority for Climate Change a step forward, but much remains to be desired - Eve Borg Bonello

Sabrina Zammit Wednesday, 7 February 2024, 18:07 Last update: about 24 days ago

The Nationalist Party welcomes the establishment of an Authority for Climate Change, especially in the light of our parliament recognizing a Climate Emergency in 2019, however noting that “the bill tabled is somewhat rushed and lacking in crucial aspects”, especially given that no public consultation was carried out in the efforts of establishing such an authority.

These were the words of the PN’s spokesperson for climate change Eve Borg Bonello on Wednesday in the second day of debates on a Bill regulating the establishment of the Climate Action Authority.

The soon-to-be established Climate Action Authority will focus on taking action on climate change, mitigating its effects and to help adapting to the changing world climate.

Borg Bonello said that since the government declared a state of Emergency back in 2019, this should have indicated the urgency of the situation when it comes to climate change.

"So, I can't understand why we had to wait for 5 years to act. In fact, we had to wait for the summer blackouts that just happened, leaving many families alone in darkness and heat," she said.

She said that the Bill could benefit from some revision, particularly as it appears to have been rushed in its drafting, with no public consultation taking place beforehand.

The PN MP said that the main areas that need serious revision are those concerning, the publication of reports in a more frequent and regular manner, the Chairperson appearing in front of relevant parliamentary committees, the method and criteria for appointments to the board, better stakeholder and NGO representation on the board, necessary checks and balances.

The core proposal put forward by the PN MP is that every relevant Ministry should have one climate change representative who evaluates compliance with international law obligations and gives advice; and in turn, each representative is answerable not to the Minister but to a chairperson of a committee which coordinates horizontally.

“This is crucial for Malta’s Climate Change strategy to be truly holistic,” she said.

Borg Bonello said that the authority is nonetheless recognised and essential to truly move forward and take urgent action to limit our emissions, improve our air quality and mitigate the effects of climate change in our country. 

She also appealed for Malta to take measures to ensure it no longer ranks in the bottom six positions on the Climate Change Index this year, “as we did last year, which was the most alarming year recorded in the past hundred and twenty-five years.”

She said that alternative methods of transport like the metro, efficient public transport, and renewable energy “are what we need today before tomorrow to reduce emissions and work towards a better air quality.”

The PN MP said that the scope of the Authority for Climate Change should be to ensure the implementation of sustainable and circular projects in every sector.

“The draft mentions work related to the National Energy and Climate Plan. This plan remains committed to increasing our share of renewable energy by only 1.5%, which has been criticized by the European Commission for lacking ambition. So, I wonder if the authority will be in a position to raise our goals beyond the bare minimum.”

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