Saturday, 4 December 2010

Climate Action Day 2010 – We’re all in the same ‘boat

For this year’s Climate Action Day, Friends of the Earth Malta teamed up with Moviment Graffitti and Greenhouse in a bid to raise awareness on climate change. The event was planned to coincide with the annual United Nations Climate Talks which are taking place this year in Cancun, Mexico. Unfortunately the event had to be called off as the Valletta Local Council refused to grant a permit for the event.

Ironically, on the same day that the Valletta Local Council refused the permit, it was announced in the papers that 2010 is set to be among three warmest years on record, and will cap the warmest decade ever. This was revealed by the UN's World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) at the world climate talks in Cancun. While Nero Played The Fiddle, Rome Burns!

During a press conference held this morning in Valletta, the three NGOs argued that climate change should be tackled at all levels, starting from an individual level to the global.

On a local level, we need to look into changing our habits and adopt a more sustainable lifestyle. Such change in attitude will not only benefit the environment but also makes economic sense. Why are we willing to invest in expensive and polluting cars but are then not willing to invest in renewable energy sources and energy efficient appliances which make more financial sense? FoE Malta, Greenhouse and Moviment Graffitti questions such illogical behaviour. The age of irresponsible consumption is over; if we are not willing to do our part how should we expect politicians and businesses to lead.

On a national level, the government should have a clearer and more effective policy on carbon emissions. This requires shifting from heavy expenditure on projects that do not reduce our emissions level to more projects that do. Malta is still, considered a carbon dinosaur with its biggest sources of emissions coming from our oil-burning power stations and from land transport. Our country needs to look into having more efficient ways in the use of energy generated. This has to move decisively towards maximum utilisation of renewable energy sources and usage of efficient, low-emission land transport. There is urgent need to improve the efficiency of our main generating equipment. The Delimara extension – using diesel and not HFO – will provide a first improvement. The interconnector from Sicily, if supplied by a natural gas power station, will also improve matters: a net cut back of perhaps 0.5 million tonnes CO2 from 2.1 million.

Globally, the increased role for multilateral development banks as a channel for climate finance is not a blessing but more adept at causing climate pollution than in helping countries to mitigate or adapt to it. Using these channels would also mean climate finance in the form of loans or other debt-creating instruments. Using other instruments such as grants by developed countries as compensation for damages done will reduce the costs of dealing with climate change to the already heavy debt burdens experienced by many developing countries. Hence, we demand that all public money to fight climate change must go through the UNFCCC, not the World Bank, because the World Bank is the wrong institution to control financing for climate change. The decision to establish a global climate fund under authority of the UNFCCC should be adopted in Cancun.

The current global economic crises should be seen as an opportunity to move away from the current inefficient practices. This should lead us to the new, green economy more quickly so that many of the old problems of oil demand and energy consumption can be dealt with. Investing in new technologies, and moving much more decisively to renewable energies as well as energy efficiency can create more jobs, lower energy bills and indeed saves lives as well as livelihoods.

Media Features: Di-ve, Times of Malta, Times of MaltaMalta Today, Independent, Gozo News

1 comment:

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