A climate-neutral island: risk and opportunity

‘Climate action and climate neutrality are not only buzzwords’ to ‘save polar bears in Antarctica’ but represent ‘risk we need to manage’ and ‘opportunities we need to take’, architect and business mentor David Xuereb told us on theDailySpot #24. 

Commenting on Labour Party proposals on climate action and decarbonisation, Xuereb said that if there are any developments in our country we need to get right, it is that of climate neutrality.

“I’m very happy to see that the Labour Party is proposing to work very hard within the public sector but even more importantly with the private sector to decarbonise our economy, because that in itself ensures that the efficiency, efficacy and therefore competitiveness of our economy remains strong,” he said.

Xuereb went on to explain that as a small nation which can legislate rather quickly, we should be able to ‘get there faster’ than other countries and ‘become more competitive because of our fast action’.

“I like the idea of focusing on anything to do with business including buildings, agriculture, renewable energy, water, and the focus to have Gozo as the first carbon-neutral island in Europe. That I think is a very good target not only because it is good for Gozo but actually it is good for the rest of our country… I look forward to see this happen, because in my mind this is the only way for business and for our economy to remain competitive, remain alive, and remain vibrant — and therefore makes our quality of life and everything else work,” he said.

The Labour manifesto is pledging a regional conference among Mediterranean countries to come up with collaborative initiatives and tangible goals on how to better meet this challenge.

It also references that Malta will be implementing a whole host of measures according to our Low Carbon Development Strategy and our Long-Term Renovation Strategy – two policies that are major pillars of our country’s drive to combat climate change. 

Both strategies were developed, using Maltese and international expertise, to address local specific conditions, challenges and opportunities. 

Between them they set out a number of actions intended to reduce carbon from what are Malta’s main sources of fuel-based greenhouse gases emissions – road transport, buildings and industrial processes, waste and agriculture.

Labour will proceed with the necessary studies and technical preparations on hydrogen, and launch a national hydrogen plan to help the industry prepare for this shift.

Among other proposals:

  • Further schemes for installation of solar water heaters, PV solar panels, roof insulation, heat pump water heaters, double glazing, and more for homes.
  • An additional scheme to help first-time buyers and low-income families to improve the energy performance of their property
  • More environmental obligations when it comes to new buildings
  • Around 200 new substations with automated technology around Malta and Gozo.
  • Further investment in the green and blue economy
  • A number of pledges for sustainable industry.

You can download the full Labour manifesto here.

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