Quoting Halina Birenbaum book title in my title for this article was not just a coincidence, she herself lived through a dark time in the time of the holocaust, but despite the continuous barrage of bad news and tragedies she managed not to break and managed to keep hope.

Climate change is a continuous tragedy we are self-inflicting as humanity. Our actions are turning our world into the world none of us wants to see for the future. The Glasgow COP was depicted as being our last chance to make it work, and to some extent this caucus of nations at the UN, tried to make it work. Did they succeed? Seems not, seems more like they managed to steer the boat just enough not to sink, but far from being out of the danger zone.

I wish though to make a point here, there was no chance at any point in the road towards Glasgow that Glasgow was going to be a fix it all conference resolving all issues around climate change and giving all of us solutions that elevate us from our responsibilities.  This may have been the impression given by those who love a mediatic stunt The UN process is a slow glossy bureaucratic and difficult process that as seen in the whole of post-world war II history, has clear difficulties to respond swiftly to problems it was designed to address. Let alone how swiftly it can address issues which it was not designed to tackle. We need Consideration of an essential element outside the dues of bigger entities. Essentially the success of Glasgow sits not only on what governments agreed to implement but is in most part in the hands of their citizens that make the changes required to make the difference. Their ability to change lifestyle to a greener one and express their voting preferences (where possible) towards those which factually consider these commitments seriously is the basis for any success in Climate action across the globe.

However, we have to see the shortcoming of Glasgow within its context. It’s no failure that many big gun nations committed to further reduce their emissions, significantly closing the gap between what is committed and what is needed to ensure the target of the Paris agreement is kept in sight. Media coverage of the conference seemingly focused on the missing agreements on finance and the ability of richer countries to support the transition to lower carbon societies.

Keeping promises done is also the task held by the Maltese Government, which we have to say made some good statements, which at face value seem great, but are not backed up by its own track record. There are doubts, how can a government which forgot the fight against Climate change for 8 years, and missed target after target in this period, become believable about achieving this ambitious long term climate target announced. In simple words this smells a bit off. Mixed messages come from the same minister for the environment, from one side claiming proudly we are committed to Climate neutrality by 2050, on the other end claiming success when negotiating down Malta’s targets for 2030. Does this sound a bit like do minimum today and leave it all for the next generation? In this sense we need to listen to youths and Environmental NGOs who are asking us to further our targets to ensure we can meet them in a timely manner.

It is soundly in the PN's own plan to keep to the promise of neutrality made by government, but contrary to this government we are ready to put our mouth where our words are. Recalling the fact that PN opposition is making, through its energy plan feasible thought out measures, which will not leave most of the emission reductions to happen after 2030 but would gear our country to the needed transformation now in this decade. With large-scale renewables, energy efficiency and electrification being the key to reduce pollution from greenhouse gases. We shall be looking closer beyond what is suggested or imposed at EU level, to the needs of the people, more specifically through our communities, local councils and NGOs.This ensuring policy is driven from the bottom upwards. Committing to provide a tree map with green scoring for localities, and  committed to provide open walkable spaces in all localities, descoping misused land to provide more space, cleaner air is key towards the shift to a lower emissions lifestyle. Also we aim to strengthen local biodiversity by ensuring our natural capital is preserved and enhanced as well as ensuring our agricultural businesses can thrive in a changing world.

Also addressed to the measures taken for Climate action we need to ensure as much as possible that we make the right choices and ensure the needs of the country translate into formal commitments and not the other way round. We need to ensure that we are prepared to face and avoid Climate change and avoid it from harming especially the most vulnerable strata of society.

Robert Cutajar

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Whip ta l-Oppożizzjoni. Kelliem tal-Oppożizzjoni għall-Ambjent u t-Tibdil fil-Klima. Kandidat f'isem il-Partit Nazzjonalista għall-Elezzjoni Ġenerali fuq it-12 Distrett.