Eurostat have issued the annual air emission accounts for the EU for 2020. These confirmed that the pandemic led to a significant impact on carbon emissions, with a fall of nearly 9% over 2019. In Malta the decline was much more significant, at over 20%. This reflected mainly a decline in emissions from the airline industry, reflecting the decline in flight activity over the islands. Lower cruise liner activity also contributed to lower emissions.
However even if one excludes the extraordinary impact of the pandemic, the air emission accounts show that as from 2013 Malta made a clean break. Before that date Maltese and Irish data showed the only significant rise in emissions across the entire European Union. Between 2008 and 2012, Malta managed to increase carbon emissions by 3.9%, nearly 1% per annum.
By 2012 the policies of the Gonzi administration led to an additional 123,000 tonnes of carbon gases to be emitted in the atmosphere every year. To make up for these additional emissions, we would have needed Government to plant 6.2 million trees.
Conversely, between 2012 and 2019 carbon emissions fell by 909,400 tonnes. This marks a 28% decline in just 7 years, or an average annual fall of 4%. Which means that every year, under this administration, carbon emissions fell by the equivalent of how much they had risen in a whole Conservative led legislature.
Between 2012 and 2019 carbon emissions fell by 28%.
For every four tonnes of carbon that Malta was emitting pre-2013, in 2019 Malta was emitting three. Malta’s improvement in carbon emissions pre-pandemic was more than double that observed across the EU.
It’s interesting to note that between 2004 and 2008 Malta had managed to cut carbon emissions by 1%. Policy decisions taken after 2008 let to a substantial increase in carbon emissions. Decisions such as the use of heavy fuel oil for energy generation, taken by the current opposition leader’s advisors on the environment.
To tackle climate change, Malta must continue along the path embarked since 2013. A return to power of the hacks that determined environmental policy between 2008 and 2012 would be unpardonable.
Malta has now turned the page and has become one of the best performers in cutting carbon emissions from being one of the worst performers.
Our nation now must accelerate its decarbonisation and make amends for the damage wrought by pre-2013 carbon policies.