Malta must resume its global climate change leadership – Nature Trust
Nature Trust Malta urges the government to launch ratification procedures for the UN Paris Agreement on climate change before its EU presidency starting on 1st January.
“We urge the government to resume Malta’s historic climate change leadership, much admired worldwide in past years”, NTMs President Vincent Attard said. “NTM had hoped ratification would be mentioned by the PM’s speech to the UN General Assembly last Thursday - delivered one day after the UN Secretary-General’s High Level Event at UN headquarters for the Paris Agreement (adopted at the UN climate change negotiations last December). Thirty nations deposited their ratification instruments – following 29, including USA and China, which had already done so since the Agreement was signed by 176 states (including by the Prime Minister) at the UN on 22 April.
“Climate change is already as beginning to drive migration, a key topic of the PM’s speech, and much bigger flows will occur in future unless very ambitious measures are taken to halt global warming and cope with impacts which are already inevitable.
“The Agreement’s entry into force conditions call for 55 countries accounting to 55 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. The country goal is attained and only under 7% are missing from the emissions target. There are currently no signs of Malta ratifying the Agreement, just three months before its EU presidency and while it remains Chair-in-Office of the Commonwealth until November next year. CHOGM in Malta last November issued a Commonwealth Leaders’ Statement on Climate Action and over half of Commonwealth nations have already ratified.”
Reacting to the Malta’s current ratification situation, Wendel Trio, Director of Climate Action Network Europe, (regional node of the 1100NGO global network Climate Action Network with members in 100 countries) stated that “Malta’s upcoming EU presidency will be crucial to bring progress in a number of climate and energy legislative files giving life to the EU’s commitments made under the Paris Agreement.
“Under the Maltese presidency, we need to see substantial progress in the adoption of the reform of EU climate, energy efficiency and renewable energy policies. More importantly, we expect Malta to launch the process leading up to 2018 UN climate change negotiations’ review of the Paris Agreement and nations’ related emission reduction commitments as from 2020. It would not be desirable for the EU to be running behind other major emitters as is the case with the ratification process.”
The informal EU summit in Bratislava earlier this month agreed that ratification by EU before member states had all completed their procedures could be feasible – only France, Hungary, Germany and Austria have so far ratified.
NTM emphasises that “Malta needs to show immediately that it has an ambitious and inspiring roadmap for climate change issues, as a nation, in its EU and Commonwealth roles, and not forgetting its commitment to regional Mediterranean actions through the Barcelona Convention and the Union for the Mediterranean.
“During the forthcoming UN climate change conference in Marrakesh, Morocco (7-18 November) Malta should be able to not only show it has ratified the Paris Agreement, but establish its credentials with the other 195 nations attending, as well as with the business, labour and other civil society formations present, that it can act again as a credible and forceful climate change leader.
“Climate change must figure on the agenda of the extraordinary EU summit hosted by Malta on 3 February, as well as the follow up conference to the Valletta Migration Summit expected during its presidency and the EU Arab League summit also expected to take place.
“On the home front, the government must do much more to inform citizens about the huge expected climate change impacts on Malta while its finance sector should be involved in ongoing global discussions about green bonds and other innovative financial instruments to channel private capital into the huge investments needed to put economies on a low-carbon pathway and support climate adaptation policies.
“Through its National Ekoskola programme, Nature Trust is teaching children about climate change – the central issues of the childrens’ parliament held at the House of Representatives in July. As members of Climate Action Network since 2002 we stand ready to share our perspectives for a meaningful dialogue with the Government on its climate change leadership role. “
Malta’s climate change leadership role started in 1988, when it tabled a resolution at the United Nations calling for the world’s climate system to be considered as the heritage of humanity.
The world’s nations agreed to launch negotiations for a treaty, managed between 1989 and 1992 by a senior Maltese UN official, Michael Zammit Cutajar. The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change was adopted in 1992, came into force in 1994. Mr. Zammit Cutajar was its first Executive Secretary (1994-2002) and then Malta’s ambassador for climate change (to 2011) playing a key role in major negotiating exercises.