Malta only mem­ber state not on track to reach EU’s 2020 cli­mate and en­ergy obli­ga­tions

Re­port shows fail­ures of Na­tion­al­ist Gov­ern­ment – OPM

Malta Independent - - NEWS - Julian Bon­nici

Malta is the only EU mem­ber state which is not on track to achieve its tar­gets in all three ar­eas of the EU’s Cli­mate and En­ergy 2020 di­rec­tive, namely on green­house gas emis­sion re­duc­tions, re­new­ables and en­ergy ef­fi­ciency. This has been pub­lished in the 2016 edi­tion of the Euro­pean En­vi­ron­ment Agency (EEA) Trends and Pro­jec­tions in Europe re­port. It’s the first time ever a mem­ber state has fallen be­hind in all three ar­eas of anal­y­sis.

The re­port says that the coun­try is not on track to meet its en­ergy ef­fi­ciency tar­gets, its re­new­able en­ergy tar­gets, as well as its green­house gas emis­sions tar­get un­der the Ef­fort Shar­ing De­ci­sion. The re­port has put this down to a “lack of am­bi­tion with re­gard to re­duc­ing or lim­it­ing their en­ergy con­sump­tion”. The 2016 edi­tion of the an­nual EEA re­port pro­vides an up­dated as­sess­ment of the progress of the EU and Euro­pean coun­tries to­wards their cli­mate mit­i­ga­tion and en­ergy tar­gets. The colours in the 2014 GHG emis­sion graph in­di­cate whether coun­tries are con­sid­ered on track or not to­wards their 2020 cli­mate and en­ergy tar­gets. In the case of Malta, for green­house gases, or­ange means that 2014 emis­sions cov­ered by the Ef­fort Shar­ing De­ci­sion (ESD) were above the 2014 na­tional ESD tar­get. For re­new­able en­ergy, yel­low shows that the 2014 RES share was be­low the in­dica­tive level from the na­tional ac­tion plan from 2010. For en­ergy ef­fi­ciency, or­ange de­notes the 2014 con­sump­tion in pri­mary en­ergy was above a lin­ear in­dica­tive tra­jec­tory be­tween the 2005 level and the 2020 na­tional tar­get.

Speak­ing to The Malta In­de­pen­dent, a spokesper­son for the Min­istry within the Of­fice of the Prime Min­is­ter, said that the fig­ures are based on data for 2014 and does not re­flect the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion. The re­port uses of­fi­cial data to look at the progress of mem­ber states to­wards their in­di­vid­ual ob­jec­tives for 2020. Whilst, it is true that the re­port is mainly based on na­tional data on GHG emis­sions, re­new­able en­ergy and en­ergy con­sump­tion for 2014, it also uses pre­lim­i­nary data from 2015, pro­jec­tions re­ported by mem­ber states con­cern­ing ex­pected trends in GHG emis­sions un­til 2035.

The spokesper­son then claimed that the coun­try has in fact made sig­nif­i­cant strides since 2014, point­ing to the re­cent launch of the Up­dated Na­tional Re­new­able En­ergy Ac­tion Plan, which he says of­fers a prag­matic and re­al­is­tic ap­proach to reach­ing the 2020 tar­gets.

It was also said that Malta has met and ex­ceeded all tra­jec­tory tar­gets for re­new­able en­ergy. The spokesper­son claimed that the av­er­age re­new­able en­ergy share from gross fi­nal con­sump­tion for years 2013 and 2014 was 4.2%, which is higher than Malta’s min­i­mum tra­jec­tory, which was set at 3.0% for these years. Whilst, what has been claimed may be fac­tu­ally cor­rect, it raises the ques­tion as to why the EEA (an EU agency) would pub­lish in­cor­rect fig­ures, even though they based their fig­ures on of­fi­cial data. With re­gards to en­ergy ef­fi­ciency, the spokesper­son said that this was due to the fact that the Marsa Power Sta­tion was still op­er­a­tional, thus mean­ing Malta’s pri­mary en­ergy ef­fi­ciency was “very poor”. He then said that the EEA re­port is based on the pre-2014 sit­u­a­tion in Malta; which is a fur­ther tes­ti­mony to the Na­tion­al­ist gov­ern­ment’s fail­ure on en­ergy and cli­mate af­fairs de­spite charg­ing the high­est rates of elec­tric­ity to both do­mes­tic and com­mer­cial cus­tomers (in spite of a lower than av­er­age GDP per capita). The old gen­er­a­tion tech­nolo­gies were not in com­pli­ance with the en­vi­ron­men­tal reg­u­la­tions at a Euro­pean level, he claimed, and that the new gen­er­a­tion mix is bound to lead to sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ments to air qual­ity as ex­pected from the use of nat­u­ral gas. This, he said, to­gether with the ef­fi­cient use of fuel that is ex­pected of a Com­bined Cy­cle Gen­er­a­tion Plant, will ren­der it suit­able for the gov­ern­ment of Malta to be in a po­si­tion to reach its 2020 tar­gets and be­yond. How­ever, the spokesper­son did not guar­an­tee that the coun­try would ac­tu­ally reach these tar­gets. The re­port finds that over­all, the EU is well on track to meet its cli­mate and en­ergy tar­gets for 2020, with 17 mem­ber states cur­rently on track to de­liver on their na­tional tar­gets in all three ar­eas. This is an im­prove­ment for the 2014 re­port when the fig­ure was 13.

Ac­cord­ing to pre­lim­i­nary es­ti­mates in the re­port, en­ergy con­sump­tion and green­house gas emis­sions slightly in­creased in 2015. These in­creases fol­low large re­duc­tions in 2014, due to an ex­cep­tion­ally warm win­ter that year, which was re­spon­si­ble for par­tic­u­larly low en­ergy de­mand for heat­ing. The re­port said that gov­ern­ment poli­cies were play­ing an im­por­tant role in driv­ing the over­all EU trends ob­served since 2005, in par­tic­u­lar through a con­tin­ued in­crease in re­new­able en­ergy use. How­ever, the trans­port sec­tor in gen­eral is a lag­gard, both in terms of re­duc­ing GHG emis­sions and achiev­ing the 10% sec­toral tar­get for re­new­ables by 2020.

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