On 3 March, protestors gathered in front of Parliament House in Valletta along with millions of activists around the world for the Global Climate Strike. Concerned citizens rallied together to support this year’s strike to end fossil finance.
Activists called on the local government to keep fossil fuels in the ground and invest in renewable energy whilst also supporting public and active commuters, such as pedestrians and people on bicycles, rather than further incentivising car use.
The activists said that about “half of the carbon emissions of Malta comes from road transport, yet the government continues to pursue car-centric infrastructure projects, entrenching the use of an energy intensive mode of transport. The sustainable policy target for 2030 is to reduce car use by 41% from 1990 levels yet the government is doing the opposite by systematically excluding alternative mobility users. Meanwhile, we are spending €1.5 million every single day on fossil fuel subsidies. We can completely transition to a carbon neutral energy system should we wish to, but the will to steer Malta away from a climate insecure future is currently seriously lacking.”
In a press statement, they said that, “This is in direct contradiction with the government’s and European Green Deal targets of reaching carbon neutrality by 2050, as well as internationally agreed targets of keeping global warming to well below 2 degrees and ideally no more than 1.5 degrees of warming. Even breaching the 1.5 target risks activating tipping points in the climate system, threatening to render the Earth uninhabitable for humans. Climate projections show a large decrease in precipitation in the Mediterranean basin as the planet warms, as well as an increase in extreme weather events, threatening ecological integrity, as well as water and food security.”
The International Energy Agency has stated that further fossil fuel production is incompatible with carbon neutrality goals while the UN Environment Programme Emissions Gap report states that a “rapid transformation of societies” is necessary to avoid climate catastrophe. In this context, the government’s decisions to issue oil and gas exploration licences is a non-starter and should have never been considered.
In addition to the immediate revocation of oil and gas licences and the shelving of the gas pipeline to Sicily, protestors demanded that the government, keeps fossil fuels in the ground, invests in renewable energy, increase the 2030 target to 40% renewable energy, prioritise people not cars, support public transport and create active commuting options .