Green New Deal needed to reboot economy and save the climate after coronavirus

Business as usual is not on. Government must move away from destroying our quality of life, and stop together with PLPN favouring tax evasion, and instead tackle inequality and improving public services, the quality of life of everyone and our urban and natural environment head on.

“A green recovery is the only way to deal with the huge economic challenges while tackling the climate crisis, creating security and leaving behind the inequality that is increasing even during a crisis. In a crisis the super rich worldwide still manage to get richer and richer, while all others are left with crumbs and living from one pay cheque to another. This is damaging our society. The issue here is not making money, but being allowed to hoard money at the expense of society, through the exploitation of workers, and through ruining people’s quality of life”, said ADPD Chairperson Carmel Cacopardo on the occasion of Earth Day.

A Green New Deal has to be central to any post-coronavirus recovery package, and Malta and the EU are already late. Investment must go towards making people’s lives better, not further enriching the few. The reduction in economic activity in many sectors means that we need rapid and deep investment to reboot the economy and create green jobs while tackling the climate crisis and reducing inequality.”

ADPD Secretary General Ralph Cassar added: “Investment, through government supported borrowing-to-invest programmes, could make all homes in Malta and Gozo more energy efficient, revolutionise our transport and rapidly roll out renewable energy across the country. Hundreds of low carbon jobs would be created to carry out this work. Digitalisation which respects workers, is accessible to all and respects our rights is also an opportunity for a better quality of life. The agricultural sector also needs investment and special attention to move towards low-carbon practices and increase the availability of zero-kilometre fresh food. A good start would be giving farmers, the ones who actually work the land legal titles for the land they till and stop building useless roads through fields. Another important investment is that of creating urban woodlands and parks in urban areas and transforming residential roads into people-friendly spaces. We want to see carbon emissions reduced by 65% in 2030 (compared to 1990 levels). This aim should shape all economic and social policies and should be legally binding. EU targeted transformation funds are to be used to work toward a social-ecological economy.”

“The impact of coronavirus has laid bare the inequalities that exist in our society and our lack of resilience. The recovery has to spell an end to these once and for all, not make them worse. We can direct emergency economic support so that it powers a move to a sustainable, secure economy and make sure, once we come out of this emergency period, we will have an economy and a society that is more able to withstand future shocks and tackle the climate crisis.”

Carmel Cacopardo also spoke about the danger of the EU climate law becoming ineffective to tackle climate change because of the lack of political will of EU member states, the spokes in the wheels by the pro-pollution European People’s Party and the backtracking of the Socialist and Liberals in the European Parliament. “The bad news today is that although after intense negotiations between the European Parliament, the EU Member States and the European Commission, the first European climate law is in place, what should have been a milestone for climate protection turns out to be a sham. The strong negotiating position of the European Parliament, which our colleagues the Greens had fought for, was unfortunately watered down by the member states in key areas. Starting with the climate targets for 2030 and 2050, through fossil subsidies and the greenhouse gas budget to the right to climate protection – less ambition everywhere. The pro-pollution European People’s Party in the European Parliament were always against strong, binding and effective climate protection measures, despite the attempts of their local member party, the PN and their MEPs to portray otherwise. The pro-climate coalition in the European Parliament of Social Democrats, Liberals, Greens and Leftists has also unfortunately collapsed in the last few days. The Liberals have swung to the position of the member states, that is stalling effective pro-climate action, and the Socialists are celebrating a weak, ineffective and disastrous net target of 57% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, using a flawed emission accounting technique. In Malta, Labour Ministers are more interested in photo-ops rather than real pro-climate action, and with their Nationalist allies waste time voting for non-binding ‘climate emergency’ declarations which have no legal effect.”

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