PM Robert Abela’s “This is it” speech in Glasgow this week has been hailed by experts as a truthful and timely speech which gave due importance to small states and international solidarity.
University of Malta rector, Prof Alfred Vella, economist Dr Stephanie Fabri, architect and business mentor Dr David Xuereb, and environmentalist Ingram Bondin gave their green stamp of approval to Prime Minister Abela’s COP26 speech.
PM’s focus on small states crucial – Prof Alfred Vella
I was struck by the Prime Minister’s focus on small island states since they face double the risk of larger countries. Climate change affects these states both because of the rising sea level and because their economies are more vulnerable.
It was also noteworthy that the Prime Minister recalled that it was Malta that brought up the subject of climate change for the first time at the United Nations General Assembly in 1988.
The leaders’ commitment to end deforestation and to reduce methane emissions are very important. That said, these will bring important challenges, including on cattle farms, which produce significant amounts of methane.
This is indeed our last chance. I am confident that with the will of the young political class we can make progress. At the same time we shouldn’t simply wait for politicians to save us. It is important to make lifestyle changes and change certain practices that we have become accustomed to, including in our diet and in the way we travel.
Lowest emitters; the most vulnerable – Dr Stephanie Fabri
Small states like Malta are the least polluting countries due to their small size. But the impact of climate change on small countries is greater.
If we look at what’s happening in the Pacific and the Caribbean, we see that the rise in sea level is shrinking land. Therefore climate change will shrink small islands even further.
Economic and social development cannot take place without environmental development. Nowadays, in order to attract quality investment, we must invest in environmental projects. At the same time, investing in the environment also means investing in our health. Studies show that where air quality is bad, the risk of asthma and other respiratory diseases is higher. Investing in the environment is not only in the interest of governments but also businesses and consumers.
This is really it – Dr David Xuereb
I was particularly struck by the Prime Minister’s statement that “this is it”. A statement which makes everyone realise that if we don’t take the necessary actions now, we will face a very tough future, which no one wants. This is it – we have to take important decisions, both in our personal lives, in our businesses and our economy. As the Prime Minister said, there is no better time than COP26 to take important decisions for a future that suits us, our children and our future generations.
A timely speech – Ingram Bondin
This was a timely speech. One which acknowledged that climate change is real, even though there are still those who deny it, despite the fact that we’re only ‘a few minutes’ away from a catastrophe. It was a speech which acknowledged the sense of urgency, that action must be taken now. It was also a speech with an international solidarity dimension. This is a problem which affects all countries and no one can solve it alone.
At the same time we have to understand that development in some countries is at a slower pace and this fact makes negotiations very difficult. That’s why it was important for the Prime Minister to emphasise that the deal must be a fair one.