Image

AD tilqa’ b’sodisfazzjon il-konsultazzjoni dwar il-bidla tal-karozzi petrol u diesel għal dawk elettriċi

 

Alternattiva Demokratika tilqa’ b’sodisfazzjon l-aħbar tal-Prim Ministru li se jniedi konsultazzjoni dwar il-bidla minn vetturi li jużaw il-petrol u d-diesel – fabbrika tal-kanċer fil-qalba ta’ kull belt u raħal – għal vetturi elettriċi.

Il-kelliem ta’ AD Ralph Cassar qal:”Din il-bidla hija waħda mill-proposti konkreti li għamlet Alternattiva Demokratika fid-dokument tagħha Zero Carbon Malta 2050. Il-perjodu ta’ tranzizzjoni biex il-karozzi kollha ikunu elettriċi jiddependi minn ħafna fatturi fosthom kemm jeħtieġ żmien biex tinbidel l-infrastruttura li s’issa taqdi biss vetturi petrol u diesel għal infrastruttura li tinkludi skemi ta’ bdil, iċċarġjar u riċiklaġġ ta’ batteriji, kif ukoll perjodu biex karozzi eżistenti jinbidlu fi żmen raġjonevoli. Fuq medda qasira l-Gvern għandu jara li l-vetturi kollha tiegħu, dawk ta’ kumpaniji tal-kiri tal-karozzi u taxis jinbidlu għal dawk elettriċi. L-elettrifikazjoni tat-trasport pubbliku wkoll għandha tiġi ppjanata minnufih. Li huwa importanti li jkun hemm pjan b’miri ċari u tondi u li l-miri jinżammu.”

“Nemmnu li ma din l-inizjattiva importanti għandhom jittieħdu oħrajn b’mod immedjat biex tonqos il-konġestjoni fosthom li fi żmien qasir isiru sistemi nazzjonali ta’ passaġġi sura ta’ nies għar-roti u roti elettriċi tul il-bypasses kollha. Qed insejjħu biex ikun hemm inċentivi biex in-nies jitħajru jużaw ir-roti u roti elettriċi għall-commuting. Ma tagħmilx sens li jkun hemm ostakli bħal bżonn ta’ reġistrazzjoni ta’ roti elettriċi – l-użu tagħhom għandu jkun faċilitat u mhux imxekkel. Anzi għandu jkun hemm skemi li itaffu l-ispiża ta’ min jiddeċiedi li jixtri roti elettriċi. L-investiment f’infrastruttura għar-roti u roti elettriċi u inċentivi fiskali biex jingħataw spinta jqum ħafna inqas minn infieq f’flyovers u mini. Dawn il-proġetti u inċentivi jistgħu jsiru relattivament malajr. Skont figuri minn Londra l-introduzzjoni ta’ ‘bicycle superhighways’ żied l-użu tar-roti b’60%. Figuri oħra juru tnaqqis ta’ 35% fil-ħin tal-vjaġġ tal-vetturi meta tul toroq prinċipali ġew introdotti lanes separati u siguri għar-roti. Għal kull persuna li tuża r-rota ikollok anqas traffiku u anqas tniġġis fi żmien qasir.”

“L-elettrifikazzjoni tat-trasport għandha tkun marbuta wkoll ma’ investiment serju f’sorsi rinnovabbli tal-enerġija, mix-xemx, sal-mewġ, ir-riħ u sorsi oħra bħal gass naturali mill-irżieżet u d-drenaġġ. Il-mira ta’ 10% sas-sena 2020 hija ftit wisq. Malta għal darba għandha l-opportunita’ li tkun minn ta’ quddiem fil-bidla lejn ekonomija zero karbonju – ekonomija sostenibbli b’tipi ta’ xogħol f’livelli differenti għal kulħadd, u b’kwalita’ ta’ ħajja aħjar għalina lkoll.”

(din hi stqarrija għall is-stampa ta’ Alternattiva Demokratika)

 

 

Advertisements

L-ekonomija l-ħadra

green new deal

Qed nirreferi għal dik il-ħidma ekonomika li titfassal jew titwettaq b’mod li tagħti każ tal-impatti ambjentali. Il-karatteristiċi ewlenin li jiddistingwu attivita’ meqjusa bħala li tappartjeni lill-ekonomija l-ħadra minn attivita oħra huma: tnaqqis fl-emmissjonijiet, tnaqqis fit-tniġġis, effiċjenza fl-użu tal-enerġija w ir-riżorsi, li tkun evitata t-telfa tal-bodiversita’ u l-ħarsien tas-servizzi li kontinwament tagħtina (b’xejn) l-ekosistema.

L-ekonomija l-ħadra taħdem flimkien man-natura, mhux kontra tagħha. Allura tfittex li tnaqqas l-impatti ambjentali tal-ħidma ekonomika f’kull qasam. Hi u tagħmel hekk toħloq ix-xogħol.

Toħloq ix-xogħol fil-ġenerazzjoni ta’ enerġija nadifa u alternattiva kif ukoll fil-ħidma biex tiżdied l-effiċjenza fl-użu tal-enerġija.

Ix-xogħol jinħoloq ukoll fil-proċess li jrid iwassalna sal-punt li ma niġġenerawx iktar skart. Dan ifisser li mhux biss irridu narmu inqas imma bħala pajjiż hu meħtieġ li nkunu kapaċi nirriċiklaw iktar dak li ma jkollniex iktar użu għalih. Ir-rimi tal-iskart hu rimi ta’ riżorsi prezzjużi li fil-parti l-kbira tal-każi nistgħu nsibu użu ieħor għalhom.

L-ekonomija l-ħadra toħloq ix-xogħol ukoll fil-qasam tat-trasport pubbliku. Nafu li trasport pubbliku effiċjenti (meta xi darba jkollna) jnaqqas b’mod sostanzjali t-tniġġis tal-arja fl-ibliet u l-irħula tagħna. Jnaqqas ukoll l-istorbju iġġenerat minn traffiku kontinwu. Dan iseħħ billi (meta jkun effiċjenti) t-trasport pubbliku jħajjar iktar persuni minna biex nagħmlu użu minnu flok ma nagħmlu użu mill-karozzi privati tagħna. Fuq perjodu ta’ żmien trasport pubbliku effiċjenti jista’ jikkonvinċina li wara kollox nistgħu ngħaddu mingħajr karozza privat. Ta’ l-inqas nitħajjru nnaqsu l-karozzi fil-familji. Dan nistgħu nagħmluh meta nkunu konvinti li jkun jaqbel li nagħmlu dan.

Din tkun sitwazzjoni li minnha jirbaħ kulħadd. Jirbaħ il-pajjiż kollu għax ikollna kwalita’ ta’ arja aħjar. Nirbħu aħna lkoll mhux biss għax ninqdew aħjar imma ukoll għax innaqqsu l-ispejjes biex ikollna l-karozzi privati.

Tirbaħ ukoll l-ekonomija tal-pajjiż għax bil-ħidma tal-ekonomija l–ħadra jkunu ġġenerati l-impiegi. Impiegi b’differenza. Impiegi ħodor (green jobs) li permezz tagħhom jinħoloq il-ġid mingħajr ma issir ħsara ambjentali.

ippubblikata fuq iNews it-Tnejn 16 ta’ Diċembru 2013

Tackling the green skills gap

green skills 3

Launching the public consultation on the Green Economy last month, Ministers Leo Brincat and Evarist Bartolo emphasised the need to address the green skills gap in the process leading to a Green Economy strategy and action plan.

It is estimated that 20 million jobs will be created in the Green Economy between now and 2020 within the European Union. Capacity building is the greatest challenge: ensuring that more working men and women are adequately equipped with green skills.

The Green Economy includes activities in different sectors. It is possible to go about activity in these sectors in a manner which reduces their environmental impacts, is socially inclusive and economically rewarding.

Various sectors have been identified as being of key importance in the transition to a Green Economy. The basic characteristics which distinguish the Green Economy are a reduction of carbon emissions, the reduction of all forms of pollution, energy and resource efficiency, prevention of biodiversity loss  and the protection of eco-system services.

The United Nations Environment Programme  has repeatedly emphasised that the transition to a Green Economy enables economic growth and investment while increasing environmental quality and social inclusiveness. A Green Economy is one which respects the eco-system and recognises that there are natural limits  which, if exceeded, endanger the earth’s ecological balance. In effect it means that the transition to a Green Economy signifies addressing all of our environmental impacts in all areas of activity. Addressing impacts in one area would still signify progress although this would be of limited benefit.

An agriculture which forms part of the Green Economy is one which works with nature, not against it. It uses water sustainably and does not contaminate it. Green agriculture does not seek to genetically modify any form of life nor to patent it.

Energy efficient buildings, clean and renewable energy together with the sustainable use of land are also basic building blocks of the Green Economy. We cannot speak of the Green Economy whilst simultaneously tolerating  large scale building construction. Having a stock of 72,000 vacant dwellings, (irrespective of the reasons for their being vacant) signifies that as a nation we have not yet understood that the limited size of the Maltese islands ought to lead to a different attitude. The green skills of politicians and their political appointees on MEPA is what’s lacking in this regard.

Maritime issues are of paramount economic importance to Malta’s economy. The depleted fish stock and the quality of sea water are obvious issues. But the impacts of organised crime through the dumping of toxic, hazardous and nuclear waste in the Mediterranean Sea is not to be underestimated as has been evidenced time and again in the exploits of the eco-mafia reign to our north.

Heavy industry is fortunately absent in Malta. New industries like the pharmaceutical industry are more eco-conscious. However we still require more inputs on resource efficiency and eco-design.

Greening tourism is essential in order to ensure that more of tourism’s environmental impacts are addressed.  The consumption of tourism is 50% more per capita than that registered for a resident, indicating that there is room for considerable improvements.

Public transport is still in shambles. The effects of this state of affairs is evident in the ever increasing number of passenger cars on our roads which have a major impact on air and noise pollution in our communities. Greening transport policies signifies that the mobility of all is ensured with the least possible impacts.  Still a long way to go.

Waste management has made substantial improvement over the years even though it is still way  behind EU targets. It is positive that the draft waste management strategy has established the attaining of a Zero Waste target by 2050. However we still await the specifics of how this is to be achieved. It is achievable but the commitment of all is essential.

Our water resources have been mismanaged, year in, year our. Discharging millions of litres of treated sewage effluent into the sea is just the cherry on the cake. The contaminated and depleted water table which still contributes around 40% to Malta’s potable water supply is in danger of being  completely lost for future generations if we do not act fast.

All the above have been dealt with in various policy documents. One such document is the National Sustainable Development Strategy which establishes the parameters for the action required. Implementing the National Sustainable Development Strategy is the obvious first step in establishing a Green Economy.  It is here where the real green skill gap exists. Decision makers lack green skills. This skill gap exists at the level of Cabinet, Parliament, the top echelons of the civil service and in the ranks of the political appointees to Boards and Authorities where decisions are taken and strategies implemented.

When this skill gap is addressed, the rest will follow and we will be on the way to establishing  a green economy.

published in The Times of Malta, Saturday 14 December 2013

Snippets from AD’s electoral manifesto: (24) Access to renewable energy

solar_panel_497106_2

The following extract is taken verbatim from Chapter 13 of AD’s Electoral Manifesto

All buildings should have enough space to include renewable energy apparatus such as solar panels.

Every building needs to conform to energy efficiency regulations with full use of double glazing. Water heaters should be obligatory, including in existing buildings where there is space on the roof.

A scheme should be put into place enabling everyone (unlike the present were there are limited funds) through subsidies to those medium and lower incomes to purchase and use solar water heaters and photovoltaic panels. State housing estates and social housing projects should be subsidized as well as those having lower and medium incomes.

The installation of photovoltaic systems that generate electricity through the sun should be encouraged by making low interest loans available to the general public. These loans could be paid back over a long period of time. The feed in tariff should be to the advantage of the consumer. Payment for loans may be in the form of extra energy the consumer produces.

Liberalized height restrictions introduced in the Local Plan of 2006 has meant that many properties now lack access to roofs to make use of solar energy sources. A revision of these height restrictions should guarantee that dwellers have access to sunlight.

L-Estratt segwenti hu meħud kelma b’kelma mill-Kapitlu 13 tal-Manifest Elettorali ta’ Alternattiva Demokratika

Kull bini ġdid għandu jkun żviluppat b’mod li jkun hemm spazju fuq il-bejt għal panelli fotovoltajiċi u solar water heaters. Kull bini għandu jikkonforma ma’ liġijiet dwar l-effiċjenza fl-enerġija b’użu sħiħ ta’ insulazzjoni u double glazing. L-installazzjoni ta’ solar water heaters għandha tkun obbligatorja, inkluż f’ bini eżistenti fejn hemm spazju fuq il-bjut.

Għandu jkun hemm skema miftuħa għal kulħadd (u mhux kif jiġri bħalissa fejn l-iskema hi limitata għal min japplika l-ewwel) ta’ sussidju li tgħin lil dawk bi dħul baxx u medju biex jinvestu f’solar water heaters u panelli fotovoltajiċi. F’housing estates u social housing il-gvern għandu jagħmel tajjeb għall-ispiża.

L-installazjoni ta’ sistemi fotovoltajiċi li jiġġeneraw l-elettriku mix-xemx, jistgħu jiġu inċentivati permezz ta’ self b’interessi baxxi li jitħallas lura fuq numru ta’ snin. Il-feed-in tariff għandha tkun kemm jista’ jkun vantaġġjuża għall-konsumatur. Ħlas lura ta’ self jista’ jsir permezz tal-enerġija żejda li jipproduċi l-konsumatur.

It-tibdil fil-għoli permissibli tal-bini introdott bil-Pjani Lokali fl-2006 wassal biex ħafna propjetajiet tilfu l-aċċess għall-enerġija solari. Kull reviżjoni tal-pjani lokali għandha tassigura li ma tnaqqasx l-aċċess għad-dawl tax-xemx.

Linking energy and democracy

 
The Times Logo
Saturday, June 18, 2011 ,
by

Carmel Cacopardo

 

Last weekend, Italian voters said no to nuclear energy for the second time since the Chernobyl nuclear disaster 25 years ago.

Italy is not alone in refusing to handle nuclear energy. The Fukushima incidents have driven home the point that, even in a country that is very strict on safety standards, nuclear energy is not safe. Fukushima has proven that no amount of safeguards can render nuclear energy 100 per cent safe. Though accidents are bound to happen irrespective of the technology used, the risks associated with nuclear technology are such that they can easily wipe out life from the affected area in a very short time.

Last weekend’s no has a particular significance for Malta as this means an end to plans for the construction of a nuclear power plant at Palma di Montechiaro on Sicily’s southern coast, less than 100 kilometres from the Maltese islands.

Germany’s Christian Democrat/Liberal coalition government, faced with the resounding victory of the Greens in the Länd of Baden-Württemberg, has made a policy U-turn. As a direct effect of the Greens-led opposition to Germany’s nuclear programme, Germany will be nuclear-energy free as from 2022, by which date all existing nuclear power installations will be phased out. In doing so, the Merkel government has, once and for all, accepted the Green-Red coalition agreement on a complete nuclear phaseout.

Even Switzerland is planning not to make use of its existing nuclear plants beyond their scheduled projected life. The Swiss government will be submitting to Parliament a proposal not to replace existing nuclear plants. The process is scheduled to commence in 2019 and will conclude with the closure of the last Swiss nuclear reactor in 2034.

After the Tunisian revolution, Abdelkader Zitouni, the leader of Tunisie Verte, the Tunisian Green party, has called on Tunisia’s transitional government to repudiate the Franco-Tunisian agreement for the provision of nuclear technology by France. Hopefully, the same will happen when the Administration of Libya is back to normal.

There are other Mediterranean neighbours that are interested in the construction of nuclear plants. Libya and Tunisia were joined by Algeria, Morocco and Egypt in reacting positively to Nicolas Sarkozy, the peripatetic nuclear salesman during the past four years.

Malta could do without nuclear energy installations on its doorstep. Italy’s decision and the policy being advocated by Mr Zitouni are a welcome start. It would be wishful thinking to imagine Foreign Minister Tonio Borg taking the initiative in campaigning for a Mediterranean free of nuclear energy even though this is in Malta’s interest.

It is a very healthy sign that Malta’s neighbours together with Germany and Switzerland are repudiating the use of nuclear energy. Their no to nuclear energy is simultaneously a yes to renewable energy. This will necessarily lead to more efforts, research and investment in renewable energy generation as it is the only reasonable way to make up for the shortfall between energy supply and demand.

A case in point is the Desertec project, which is still in its infancy. The Desertec initiative is based on the basic fact that six hours of solar energy incident on the world’s deserts exceeds the amount of energy used all over the globe in one whole year. Given that more than 90 per cent of the world’s population lives within 3,000 kilometres of a desert, the Desertec initiative considers that most of the world’s energy needs can be economically met through tapping the solar energy that can be captured from the surface of the deserts.

The technology is available and has been extensively tested in the Mojave Desert, California, in Alvarado (Badajoz), Spain and in the Negev Desert in Israel where new plants generating solar energy on a large scale have been in operation for some time. The Desertec project envisages that Europe’s energy needs can be met through tapping the solar energy incident on the Sahara desert. The problems that have to be surmounted are of a technical and of a geopolitical nature.

On the technical front, solutions are being developed to address more efficient storage and the efficient transmission of the electricity generated.

The Arab Spring in Tunisia and Egypt and, hopefully, the successful conclusion of the Libyan revolution will address the other major concern: that of energy security. The movement towards democracy in North Africa can contribute towards the early success of the Desertec project in tapping solar energy in the Sahara desert for use in both Northern Africa and in Europe.

While Malta stands to gain economically and environmentally through the realisation of such a project, I have yet to hear the government’s enthusiasm and commitment even if the project is still in its initial stages.

Malta is committed in favour of the pro-democracy movements in Egypt, Tunisia and Benghazi. Being surrounded by democratic neighbours is a definitely positive geopolitical development. If properly nurtured, this would enhance Malta’s economic development, energy security and environmental protection concerns.

Tackling Sustainable Development

times_of_malta196x703

published on May 2, 2009

by Carmel Cacopardo

____________________________________________________________

Ecological Footprint analysis is a planning tool: it accounts for the manner in which the earth’s resources are used to satisfy our needs, and converts the result into the corresponding land area required. It highlights dependence on nature and quantifies this dependence, thus focusing attention on the link between consumption and the earth’s bio-capacity.

The first step in the road leading to sustainability is to understand the ecological reality of our impacts. Ignoring this reality and continuing on a business-as-usual strategy would mean that we do not care about what will be bequeathed to future generations.

Ecological Footprint analysis is therefore a tool through which we can estimate the consumption of resources and the waste assimilation requirements of an economy in terms of the land area required. It considers the land required by an economy for food, housing, transport, consumer goods and services.

The World Wide Fund publishes information on a regular basis relative to ecological footprint analysis. From the information available, Malta’s ecological footprint is 3.9 hectares per person. The EU average is 4.9 ha, ranging from a minimum of 3.6 ha for Poland and Slovakia to a maximum of 7 ha for Sweden and Finland. The world average on the other hand is 2.2 ha: the USA having a footprint of 9.5 ha, with China having a footprint of 1.5 ha. China’s footprint is obviously on the increase (source: WWF: Europe 2005, the Ecological Footprint).

With a population estimated at 410,000 and an area of 316 square kilometres, the above signifies that Malta’s consumption patterns are impacting a land area of about 50 times the size of the Maltese islands. This information could place the politics of sustainable development in Malta in its proper perspective.

Such a high impact is necessarily linked to the high population density of the Maltese islands. It is also however the result of the fact that, as a nation, we lag far behind in adopting sustainable practices. For example, as a country we did not use our small size to our advantage in order to develop sustainable transport policies that, through an increased use of public transport, could gradually lead towards the substantial reduction of road traffic. Gimmicks as those associated with the “environmental criteria” of the revised car registration and circulation tax will not solve the matter, as they are just designed to protect the Exchequer and only use environmental criteria as a means to compute taxation.

Transport is one of the issues in respect of which, a Maltese government, serious about the pursuit of sustainable development, could achieve results. Tangible results would be fewer cars on the road and, consequently, less emissions, which are damaging our health in addition to contributing towards climate change.

Readers would remember that the reform of public transport has been continuously on the agenda for at least the past 15 years. Notwithstanding the injection of millions of euros in public funds, no tangible results are yet in sight.

The use of energy is another major contributor to Malta’s ecological footprint. The projected wind farms are essential in this respect. Now that some studies and documentation has been made available to the public, an informed public discussion may be possible. It is however imperative that additional alternative sites are also taken into consideration if these are identified, even at this stage.

While macro projects are being planned, more attention should be given to initiatives on a micro level. In the area of renewable energy generation these micro projects and initiatives could, if implemented, add up to a substantial contribution to satisfy the need and demand for clean energy.

What about, for example, ensuring that all new development is provided with solar water heaters at roof level? While this would not cost one cent to the Exchequer it would undoubtedly require revisiting land use planning policies relative to the provision of penthouses, policies of which were rather relaxed in the recent past. Malta’s land use planning policies should, as a result, be less elastic than they have been in the last years in this respect.

What about the use of micro wind turbines? When will Mepa tackle the issue by producing a policy which encourages their use for discussion?

Sustainable development, if seriously tackled, could impact all areas of policy and not just those referred to above.

To actively pursue the sustainable development path, initiatives that reduce ecological impacts and simultaneously improve our quality of life are required. Notwithstanding all the talk, the government has not yet embraced this path wholeheartedly and, as a result, (unfortunately) the sustainability gap is widening. This gap can be reduced if talk and action correspond more often

Echo-Gozo : a race to be green

published on August 23, 2008

by Carmel Cacopardo

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

sunrise at Marsalforn

 

Since early 2007, when a PN commissioned survey indicated that 31 per cent of the electorate identified itself with tiny AD on environmental issues (compared with 32 per cent for the PN and 21 per cent for the MLP) it has been a race against time for the PN trying to be green. Trying to make up for lost time it took many a leaf out of the AD book: one being that relative to eco-Gozo.

For Gozo to achieve the status of an ecological island it needs to embark on the sustainable development path. This will be achieved only by matching walk to talk.

Last month the Minister for Gozo launched a public consultation intended to give flesh to the government’s eco-Gozo proposal. The minister is maybe unaware that the blue plan for eco-Gozo has already been drawn up by the stakeholders and approved by Cabinet after extensive consultation! It is titled “A Sustainable Development Strategy for the Maltese Islands”. On reading through it she will find clear directions which she should follow.

The concept of an ecological island is a vision that Gozo can be alive and kicking but not antagonistic to its ecology and life support systems. It must accept that humankind is part of an ecological system to which it is ethically bound to acquiesce. It does not mean returning to the Ġgantija era but rather that the manner the economy and social structures are organised and developed must be compatible with ecology.

The waste transfer station may be an important element in attaining this vision but it must be a holistic vision. Unfortunately this has not yet started coalescing.

Eco-Gozo could set a zero-waste target: nothing is thrown away but everything is reused or recycled. But waste is not just the solids which end up in Tal-Kus for transfer to the mainland, but also includes the liquids that transit through San Blas on their way to the waste water recycling plant and eventual discharge into the sea. An eco-Gozo would reuse all of its treated water, ensuring that its treatment is compatible with its intended use.

An eco-Gozo would also ensure that it errs on the side of caution in dealing with resources. Even at this late hour it can halt the Church in Gozo from developing a new cemetery which is playing havoc with the livelihood of Għajn Qasab farmers at Nadur. An eco-Gozo would undoubtedly realise that place names containing the semitic word “Għajn” (meaning spring) indicate a source of water flowing naturally and worthy of protection.

An eco-Gozo would strive to generate as much as is possible of its energy needs through renewable sources. This is achievable through the use of wind energy, supplemented by solar energy and energy generated through waste, including animal waste. But most of all it can be saved through energy efficiency measures in homes and other buildings.

An ecological island would ban the use of pesticides and lead its agriculture along the organic path. Its agricultural products would be healthier to consume and its water table would be less polluted. Farmers need the assistance of agricultural pharmacists to gradually decrease the pesticides in use until they can do without them altogether.

An ecological island would ensure that the ecological sites which form part of the EU Natura 2000, like Il-Qortin il-Kbir at Nadur, and those which are of great importance to the island, like Ta’ Ċenċ, are properly protected, managed and monitored. It would also ensure that declarations already made favouring the rape of Ħondoq ir-Rummien are withdrawn.

An eco-Gozo through efficient public transport would provide a reliable alternative to private cars, thereby encouraging their reduction in use. As a result it would also encourage the use of bicycles, which are surely suitable to cover the short distances between the various villages in Gozo. It would also realise that the construction industry must apply the brakes immediately. Gozo holds the national record on vacant properties: 47.66% of properties in Gozo were vacant in 2005 (9,762 out of 20,481 properties). An eco-Gozo faced with this fact would undoubtedly insist that the community can satisfy its residential needs from existing housing stock.

It takes much more than rhetoric to transform an echo to the real thing! It requires commitment and consistency. One cannot flirt with environmentalists while being consistently on the side of developers. Running with the hares does not make it possible to hunt with the hounds! In crystal clear language, a political party which seeks the support of opposing lobbies is not credible because it transmits the message of opportunism.

Throwing money at problems does not solve them. But consistency will, through the weeding out of contradictory stances and the adoption of a holistic approach. Green credentials of political parties are the result of a moral conviction, not of political convenience.

Surcharge

Stqarrija ta’ Alternattiva  Demokratika

 

 

In vista taż-żieda imminenti fis-surcharge applikat għall-ħlas tal-kontijiet tad-dawl u l-ilma, Alternattiva Demokratika emfasizzat għal darba oħra li surcharge applikabbli b’rata waħda huwa inġust. Huwa każ ċar ta’ politika tal-calculator.

 

Ralph Cassar, il-kelliemi tal-AD għall-Enerġija, Innovazzjoni u l-Industrija qal li “Alternattiva dejjem irrikonoxxiet li huwa essenzjali li jkun hemm x’jagħmel tajjeb għall-prezz dejem jiżdied taż-żejt. L-ebda politiku ma jista’ jiċħad dan. Imma Alternativa temmen li l-implimentazzjoni ta’ rata waħda u uniformi  a’ surcharge hi ineffettiva kemm soċjalement kif ukoll ambjentalment. Alternattyiva tirrepeti l-proposta illi iktra minn rata waħda hemm ħtieġa li jkunu introdotti rati differenti  applikali skond l-użu li effettivament isir ras għal ras fir-residenzi tagħna. B’dan il-mod familji li ma jaħlux iħallsu rata baxxa filwaqt li dawk li jaħlu jħallsu rata għolja. B’hekk dawk li għandhom konsm għoli jikkontribwixxu u jagħmlu tajjeb għall-ħlas tas-surcharge ta’ dawk li huma effiċjenti. Dan ma jinvolvix spejjes addizzjonali għall-kaxxa ta’ Malta. Il-proposta ta’ Alternattiva tagħmilha possibli għall-Gvern illi jraħħas is-surcharge għal dawk li jimmerithom għax effiċjenti fil-waqt li jirkupra ammont ekwivalenti mingħand dawk li jaħlu.”

Il-kelliem tal-AD għall-Iżvilupp Sostenibbli Carmel Cacopardo qal li ma nistgħux nibqgħu inżidu s-surcharge biex inlaħħqu maż-żieda fil-prezz taż-żejt. Jekk Malta trid tilħaq it-targets tal-Unjoni Ewropea billi tipproduci 10% tal-enerġija minn sorsi rinovibbli sal-2020 hemm bżonn li jidħol fis-seħħ pjan serju b’miri u skadenzi ċari. Il-proposti tal-Alternattiva jiffukaw fuq l-effiċjenza, eliminazzjoni tal-ħela kif ukoll proposti varji immirati biex il-familji jiġu mgħejjuna jnaqqsu d-dipendenza tagħhom fuq enerġija minn sorsi li jniġġsu u dan simultanjament ma għajnuna biex jitnaqqsulhom il-kontijiet. Carmel Cacopardo żied jgħid li “Il-Gvern qiegħed jindirizza biss l-impatti ekonomiċi. Il-proposti ta’ Alternattiva Demokratika tħares lejn il-problema b’mod olistiku billi tintegra l-konsiderazzjonijiet ekonomiċi, ambjentali u soċjali.”  Ralph Cassar żied jgħid “Il-proposti tagħna jinkludu minn 4 sa 5 turbini tar-riħ li jiġġeneraw l-elettriku bi spiża ta’ madwar 5 euro-ċenteżmi għal kull unit, filwaqt li l-elettriku ġġenerat mill-Enemalta jiswa madwar 11-il euro-ċenteżmu għal kull unit; programm nazzjonali ta’ inċentivi biex jinbidlu fid-djar il-bozoz bil-filament b’dawk energy saving; investiment fuq medda ta’ 5 snin f’solar water heaters għal 50,000 residenza kif ukoll investiment biex ikunu istallati 5,000 sistema fotovoltajka. Dak li jiffranka l-Gvern bl-użu ridott taż-żejt importat ikun iktar minn biżżejjed biex jagħmel tajjeb għal dan l-investiment. Huwa meħtieġ li Malta  issib il-mod kif tilħaq il-miri tal-Unjoni Ewropea. Il-proposti tagħna għall-ħames snin li ġejjin huwa bidu tajjeb biex dawn jintlaħqu.”


 
 

 

 
 
 

 

 

It-tielet waħda

susfut_turbine.jpg

Fl-impjant ta’ Dagenham tal-Ford fir-Renju Unit ġiet istallata t-tielet turbina tar-riħ. (ara hawn).

Dan ifisser illi l–enerġija elettrika meħtieġa f’dan l-impjant li ser jespandi dal-waqt ser tkun ġenerata 100% mir-riħ.

Meta taqra dawn l-affarijiet tirrealizza kemm għadna lura f’Malta.

Wasal iż-żmien li l-industrija f’Malta tibda tieħu ftit tal-inizzjattiva ?

A Watershed for Clean Energy

An article which was published on Sunday 23 March 2008 in the UK’s Independent.
The Independent

Sunday, 23 March 2008

Two events this week will set out very different visions of Britain’s future in an age of accelerating climate change and diminishing supplies of oil – and very different views on how this country can lead the world. On Thursday Gordon Brown and Nicolas Sarkozy will meet amid much ballyhoo in the unlikely environment of Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium, where they are expected to sign an agreement to build a new generation of nuclear power stations and to export the technology around the globe. And on Saturday, as we report today, a barge is set quietly to slip out of Belfast to install the world’s first-ever commercial tidal power turbine in the much more attractive surroundings of Strangford Lough.There are no prizes for guessing which will get the most attention, but in 20 years’ time the story may be very different, for the low-key event in Northern Ireland may then well be seen either as the beginning of something radically new, or as a tragically missed opportunity. Which will depend on the decisions taken by Brown and Sarkozy, and by their counterparts around the world.This is not merely an issue of nuclear versus renewables. True, Britain’s record in this area is appalling. Blessed with by far the best renewable resources in Europe – tide, wave, and wind – we remain near the bottom of the European league when it comes to exploiting them. True too, the nuclear industry – and, more particularly, a treacle layer of atavistic atomophiliacs in the civil service which seems to persist and reproduce despite changes in the departments dealing with energy – is largely responsible for this scandalous situation. There is plenty of evidence that the proper development of renewables in Britain has been stifled lest it pose the slightest threat to the nuclear dream. But this is about something even more fundamental, the whole direction in which society should develop.Time and tide, they say, wait for no man, but tidal energy has been waiting for an awful long time for the men (and too few women) who run the country to realise its importance. Now, finally, they appear belatedly to have caught on and ministers have become enthusiastic converts to the Severn Barrage which, it is estimated, could by itself supply 5 per cent of Britain’s electricity from an utterly predictable and dependable renewable source.But they still have fully to realise the potential of the turbine which is about to start generating power, 12 years from the earliest date at which the barrage could possibly do so. Espousing a totally different technology – which draws energy from the currents as they run past, rather than impounding them behind a dam – is much cheaper, more flexible and faster to construct and get into operation. And its potential to supply Britain with power is just as great, maybe greater.The issue is the same as with the nuclear obsession, whether to centralise or decentralise energy supply. Ever since Britain became the first country to develop a national grid in the 1930s, governments have sought to maximise centralisation. Ministers far prefer to make a few major decisions on building big power plants, than relying on a large number of smaller ones to save energy or to install small plants. But this will now have to start to change. One reason is that – apart from a few a typical instances like the Severn Barrage – renewables come in small packages: the sun, winds, waves, and tides are diffuse, distributed by nature for free, and they are best exploited accordingly. Decentralised energy is more efficient, as it suffers fewer distribution losses. It is cheaper, as the International Energy Agency has itself pointed out. And in an age of terrorism and disruption it is also, counterintuitively, more secure.Gordon Brown has done well to resist pressure from John Hutton, his Secretary of State for Business, to scrap Britain’s commitment to a European target to get 15 per cent of our energy – and thus 40 per cent of our electricity from renewable sources. It may be the only issue where he has recently stood up to the Blairites who were once his bitterest foes.

The Government has also gone part of the way to embracing the new imperative in its welcome plans to insist that all new homes are zero-carbon, generating their own energy. But the Prime Minister still falls far behind Chancellor Merkel of Germany, or even Mr Sarkozy, who are vigorously expanding decentralised programmes of small-scale renewables in their own countries. What is needed is balance, which so far the Government has woefully failed to provide – and a vision that stretches far beyond the Arsenal stands to the sea.