The Malta Independent 19 April 2024, Friday
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Those who reduce climate change to a political football would be failing the country – Environment Minister

Thursday, 22 February 2024, 16:38 Last update: about 3 months ago

Environment Minister Miriam Dalli said that those who reduce climate change to a political football would be failing the country, as climate action is everyone's mission.

A PL statement on Thursday said that the Labour government continues to strengthen the country's environmental protection work, climate action, energy decarbonization, agriculture and water, critical areas for sustainability and better quality of life.

Dalli explained government's environmental work in recent weeks during a news conference together with PL MEP candidate Thomas Bajada.

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She said that government's work for a healthier environment solidifies its vision for a better, beautiful country for today's communities and future generations.

"We are implementing this vision hand in hand with everyone, including families, businesses, government entities, environmental groups, climate experts, civil society, the private sector, local councils, and even children," Dalli said.

She spoke of the many significant environmental developments in recent weeks. Dalli said that this week in Parliament, the second reading of the bill to establish the Climate Action Authority was concluded.

Dalli said that government is committed to allocating all necessary resources to ensure the country adapts to climate change, which is already affecting various aspects of life.

"Those who reduce climate change to a political football are failing our country. Climate action is everyone's mission, a mission that requires all of us to come together and find solutions that benefit everyone," she appealed.

Dalli also spoke about recent developments in efforts toward energy sector decarbonization. She highlighted how over the past ten years, after the closure of the Nationalist Government's power stations still operating on heavy fuel oil, the country reduced its emissions by 60%. This is also while the share of renewable energy in Malta's energy mix rose from 2% in 2013 to over 13.4% in 2022, she said.

"We are undertaking major projects to continue increasing renewable energy in our country," Dalli said.

She said that work is ongoing in issuing a pre-qualification questionnaire for new investments in floating offshore wind farms.

Dalli said that government has also begun a process to assess market interest in floating solar farms in Maltese waters. Dalli said that preparations are underway for the second Interconnector, which will enable the country to invest in more large-scale renewable energy systems.

"This week, we have also launched various schemes to encourage families and businesses to continue investing in renewable energy and clean energy storage systems, from schemes for photovoltaic panels on homes to commercial investment opportunities in large-scale systems," Dalli said.

Government has also invested in more open spaces, she said. "We have just announced how in Luqa, Kirkop, Lija, and St Julians, four government-owned sites in development zones that could have been allocated for construction will be handed over to Project Green to create new green spaces for the community," Dalli said, joining many other similar environmental projects in other localities.

Last week, the Planning Authority approved the plan to dismantle the San Luċjan oil tanks facility, clearing the way for the Siċċa environmental project.

"Instead of an oil storage facility, we will have 18,000 square meters of recreational spaces with investments in the green and blue economy," Dalli said, adding that for previous Nationalist governments, the southern side of Malta was not a priority.

"This government is working to give a new face and better environment to the south of Malta," she said.

Dalli also said that government's decision to update the Local Plan for Ħondoq ir-Rummien to provide protection against development will continue to be strengthened with more work to ensure this bay is preserved.

PL MEP candidate Thomas Bajada emphasized the importance of environmental protection while also prioritizing agriculture and food production in Malta.

He also mentioned how government created national measures to support Maltese and Gozitan farmers and fishermen, particularly with the agricultural lease reform.

"With this reform, agricultural land will be valued for what it is - land used by Maltese and Gozitan farmers, to sustain their families, and to provide the people with a source of natural, fresh, and whole foods," Bajada said.

He continued that we must ensure that the country's agriculture and fisheries are always more sustainable to protect nature and ensure a safe food source for the country and Europe.

Bajada said in everything politicians do, in every effort, ambition, or legislation, they must continue to defend Maltese and Gozitans' interests and ensure that the EU keeps their realities at the center of its politics.

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