Switch­ing to gas is nec­es­sary but things should be done prop­erly

Malta Independent - - NEWS - Pho­to­graph: Michael Camil­leri

Dur­ing a press con­fer­ence in Birzeb­buga, AD spokesper­son on in­dus­try, en­ergy and trans­port Ralph Cas­sar spoke about the need to switch to gas as a tran­si­tion fuel on the road to cleaner en­ergy and ul­ti­mately to re­new­able en­ergy.

“Cli­mate change is one of the big­gest chal­lenges hu­man­ity faces. Gas is a tran­si­tion fuel for en­ergy gen­er­a­tion, since it emits less car­bon diox­ide than other fu­els such as diesel and Heavy Fuel Oil. It is also a much cleaner.

“Our vi­sion goes be­yond gas. Our goal for our coun­try is in­creas­ing year af­ter year re­new­able en­ergy un­til we get to 100 per cent re­new­ables, re­duc­ing our de­pen­dence on fos­sil fu­els as we go along. Those who say that there is no need to switch to gas or that we should rely only on the in­ter­con­nec­tor have no idea what they are talk­ing about. We have to vary our sources of en­ergy as much as pos­si­ble be­cause it is eco­nom­i­cally dan­ger­ous to rely ex­ces­sively on one source. There has also been talk of en­ergy from the in­ter­con­nec­tor as be­ing free of pol­lu­tion. This is a myth. The car­bon diox­ide and other pol­lu­tants pro­duced at the places where power is gen­er­ated and trans­mit­ted over the in­ter­con­nec­tor ac­tu­ally counts as pol­lu­tion gen­er­ated by Malta.

“AD’s po­si­tion is clear – we need to switch to gas and fasttrack the move to more and more re­new­able en­ergy. This need to switch to gas doesn’t mean that things should be rushed and that short­cuts are taken when it comes to safety and risk mit­i­ga­tion. The fact re­mains that if to­wards the end of the nineties we had a gov­ern­ment which took the power gen­er­a­tion sec­tor se­ri­ously, to­day we would have a gas pipeline and we would not be dis­cussing gas tankers in Marsaxlokk with all the is­sues it raises.”

Carmel Ca­co­pardo, Deputy Chair­per­son and spokesper­son for sus­tain­able devel­op­ment, said that the Greens par­tic­i­pated in the pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion ex­er­cise or­ga­nized by the En­vi­ron­ment and Re­sources Author­ity. AD’s sub­mis­sions fo­cus on the emer­gency plan which the De­part­ment of Civil Pro­tec­tion was duty bound to sub­mit for pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion. In­stead they kept it un­der wraps un­der the pre­text of na­tional se­cu­rity.

“The De­part­ment of Civil Pro­tec­tion has an obli­ga­tion to pub­lish the ex­ter­nal emer­gency plan un­der the EU’s Seveso III Di­rec­tive which has been trans­posed into Mal­tese law by the 2015 Reg­u­la­tions on the Con­trol of Haz­ards from Ma­jor Ac­ci­dents.”

Mr Ca­co­pardo said that pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion with those af­fected by the ex­ter­nal emer­gency plan is a demo­cratic duty which the De­part­ment of Civil Pro­tec­tion can­not avoid.

“AD,” he said, “will con­tinue to in­sist that this plan is pub­lished.”

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