"For a European Climate Strategy - Perspectives and Goals after
Country : Republic of Malta
Prime Minister: Dr. Lawrence Gonzi
Minister of Foreign Affairs: Michael Frendo
Dear Slovenian Presidency,
Honourable members of the European Council,
In this paper, Malta would like to express its views on climate change, the outcome of the Bali
Conference and the role of the EU. Although there are still people denying the science of
climate change, Malta is convinced that global warming is a clear and present danger.
We were happy to be present at the Bali Conference and pleased with the outcome. However,
we strongly believe that more specific measures are necessary in our fight against global
warming. We hope and believe that during this European Council, fruitful discussion will lead
to structural solutions.
Global warming will affect Malta in many ways, but most particularly in the following
aspects: our supply of fresh water and our energy security. The impact of climate change on
Malta will lead to more extreme weather patterns with prolonged Saharan heat-waves, shorter,
more intense rainy periods and longer, dryer spells. Malta’s attraction as a tourist destination
will be undermined – with all the economic consequences that follow. The escalating rise in
temperature will be accompanied by severe water shortages as rainfall over the central
Mediterranean is drastically reduced. Malta is not the only country that will have to deal with
a lack of fresh water. Other countries will have to face this problem as well. Therefore,
cooperation is indispensable.
Energy to drive our industry will become extremely expensive as big price increases are made
to hold energy demand and carbon emissions in check. Malta would like to propose the
Our main concern is the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. We are fully supporting the
Marrakech Accords (March 2007), stating that there has to be a 20% reduction of GHG
emissions in 2020 in comparison with 1990. We strongly hope that this goal will be reached.
The encouragement of the use of alternative fuels and energy sources could help to reach the
goal. The EU is in the perfect position to impose specific standards. Malta admires the
German cities that recently started denying access to cars not measuring up to certain levels.
We suggest that similar standards should be taken in all major European cities.
Secondly, we will all have to shift to a low carbon economy. We could do this by achieving
energy security through greater energy efficiency, conservation and diversification of energy
sources and supplies – off shore wind energy, solar energy (thermal and photovoltaic
technology), possibly also nuclear ( why not ?), hydrogen, bio-energy are all possibilities. We
have to examine all the options with an open mind.
Furthermore, we think that following Maltese regulations could be an example for our fellow
Concerning the air quality, we take remedial action to control emissions of air pollutants. All
countries should achieve compliance with the European standards.
Concerning the conservation of nature and biodiversity, we strive for a halt of the loss of
biodiversity by 2010, and achieve management of protected areas by 2008.
Concerning the transport, we are reducing car ownership rates to the EU average by 2014.
We are fully aware of the fact that Malta hasn’t always measured up to the same European
standards we now promote and support. But now we understand that proper planning involves
hard choices and hard decisions. The longer these are postponed, the more difficult they
become. We need to inject the ability to think broadly, impartially and objectively in the long
term. We politicians tend to be good opportunists and tacticians, but poor strategists.
Politicians’ constant dilemma is that what is right is not often popular. And what is popular is
not always right. Right is not looking after our re-election, but after the future of our people.
All these proposals have one problem in common: they are expensive. This problem was also
discussed at the Bali Conference and we fully support the installation of a fund. We think it’s
important that all the countries have the same opportunities to tackle this problem. It is
obvious that when only a small country like ours tries to address global warming, this
problem can’t be resolved. We need global cooperation to reduce the impact of climate
It is not too dramatic to state that if global warming continues on its upward path – and if
climate change is not halted – our countries as we know them today will be, at best, largely
unrecognisable and, at worst, obliterated. And if global warming is successfully reduced –
mitigated, overcome – that victory can only be achieved at substantial economic, social and
other costs. We have just a few years to draw up a survival plan. The decisions we take now
could reduce the long term damage which otherwise confronts us. More than ever, the EU
needs non-political individuals of probity, judgment, experience and accumulated wisdom to
come forward and to combine to find workable solutions to the challenges that will face us in
the next 20 testing years. We must confront those challenges head on .
Dr. Lawrence Gonzi
(Eva Devoldere, Isabel Baert)