Climate change mitigation - National Responses (Malta)

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SOER Common environmental theme from Malta - Climate Change Mitigation - National responses
Published: 26 Nov 2010 Modified: 21 Mar 2015

Responses to climate change address either mitigation or adaptation, although mitigation measures currently exceed those related to adaptation. In the area of mitigation, a raft of policies and measures has been initiated at a global, EU and national level. As an EU Member State, Malta is obliged to take on board all Community legislation that could result in the reduction or limitation of greenhouse gas emissions, including the EU Emissions Trading Scheme,[1] through which Member States determine respective caps for emissions of greenhouse gases from relevant installations in their territory.[2] For the period 2008 to 2012 Malta proposed an allocation of 14.8 million tonnes of CO2e,[3] but this was later revised to 10.7 million tonnes of CO2 following a decision of the European Commission. In the context of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)[4] under the Kyoto Protocol, WasteServ (Malta) Ltd has proposed to extract and use landfill gas from Ta’ Żwejra, delivering annual emissions savings of 19,000 tons of CO2e. The project is at validation stage and is pending registration with the CDM Executive Board.

At the national policy level, there has been much activity regarding the promotion of energy efficiency and RES: draft Renewable Energy[5] and National Energy[6] policies were published in 2006, while a National Energy Efficiency Action Plan[7] and a revised draft Energy Policy for Malta[8] were published in 2008 and 2009 respectively. A Climate Change Committee also issued its consultation report in January 2009.[9] The 2008 EU climate-energy package[10] envisages a substantial increase in the use of RES for Malta by 2020.[11] In order to achieve this, Malta will need to invest in research and development, as well as commission a range of renewable energy technologies. The draft RES policy[12] identifies wind energy as one of the most cost-effective solutions, and as of end 2008, Government was assessing the viability of both onshore and offshore wind farms.

The principal climate change mitigation measures are documented in Malta’s biennial programme and measures report (Table 3.1).[13] They originate from a number of sectors, including energy, waste and land use, and make use of various mechanisms such as technical, regulatory, economic, voluntary and informational instruments. In the energy sector, four technical measures address energy supply,[14] while a mix of economic, technical, regulatory and information/education/research tools address energy demand and RES. The energy demand and RES measures have targeted a number of sectors: while economic instruments have been used in the residential[15] and industrial[16] sectors, voluntary measures have been taken in state schools and social housing, and technical[17] and educational[18] measures have been used at waste management facilities. The informational[19] and regulatory[20] measures did not target any particular sector.




Measure Number





Energy Supply


Plant loading and fuel switching




Installation of new and efficient generating capacity (100MW at Delimara Power Station) to partly replace existing inefficient plant at Marsa Power Station




Submarine electrical interconnection to European network (200MW underwater cable) to further replace generating capacity at Marsa Power Station.




Future installation of further new and efficient generating capacity



Energy Demand  and RES


Energy Performance in Buildings Regulations




Intelligent metering and demand side reduction measures




Energy-efficiency measures in street lighting




ERDF Energy grant scheme for industry




Rebates on energy-efficient domestic appliances




Promotion of solar water heaters




Grants on the purchase of micro RES generation equipment




Distribution of energy-saving lamps in the domestic sector




Energy saving measures in water production and distribution




Energy saving and RES measures in state schools




Energy saving measures in Social Housing




Information campaign on energy efficiency




Installation of steam recovery turbine at Marsa Thermal Treatment Facility




Installation of photovoltaic and wind turbine technologies at Waste facilities

Education; Research







Aerial emissions works at closed landfill sites

Regulatory, economic



Gas management at Ta’ Żwejra and Għallis Non-hazardous landfills

Regulatory, economic



Sant’ Antnin Biological Treatment Plant

Regulatory, economic



Biogas from urban waste water treatment



Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry




Afforestation Projects

Voluntary, Planning, Education




Policy on national research



Source: MEPA 2009 (MEPA (Malta Environment &  Planning Authority). 2009. Malta’s Biennial Report on Policies and Measures and Projected Greenhouse Gas emissions 2009, MEPA, Floriana.)

Table 3.1 Policies and measures considered most effective in reducing GHG emissions (December2008)

Various measures are in the pipeline for the transport sector,[21] while four regulatory and economic measures in the waste sector mainly target emissions and RES.[22] In the land use sector, afforestation projects should increase Malta’s area covered by permanent vegetation, while MEPA guidance[23] encourages energy conservation measures and the possibility of energy audits for major projects. However, the important role of development planning as a tool for mitigating and adapting to climate change needs to be recognised further. In this respect, mitigation and adaptation measures will need to be integrated within development plans and related subsidiary policies and regulations. Meanwhile energy and environment have become national research priorities,[24] while the University of Malta has developed a capacity in climate modelling.

There is still need, however, to sustain efforts towards achieving absolute decoupling of economic activity and GHG emissions. In this context, it is  important to initiate both supply-side measures, such as investing in a range of cleaner and more efficient energy technologies, including renewables and high-efficiency cogeneration, as well as demand management measures. These would include measures such as energy efficiency in buildings, and in the transport sector. These mitigation efforts, which are being carried out in the absence of specific scenarios, need to be in line with sustainability.


[1]               Directive 2003/87/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 October 2003 establishing a scheme for greenhouse gas emission allowance trading within the Community and amending Council Directive 96/61/EC.

[2]           This cap, notified under a National Allocation Plan and covering a specified period of years, is distributed as allowances (emissions rights or permits) to the participating installations. This flexible approach, through the possibility of trading the allowances, allows for emissions to be reduced where it is less costly to do so, with installations that experience a growth in emissions over and above their allocation being allowed to acquire allowances from installations with excess allowances due to emission levels being lower than their initial allocation.

[3]               MRAE (Ministry for Rural Affairs and the Environment). 2006. National Allocation Plan for Malta (2008 – 2012), Submission to the EU Commission, September 2006.

[4]               This mechanism allows both Kyoto Protocol Annex I countries with a greenhouse gas reduction commitment, and non-Annex I countries to invest in projects that reduce emissions either in their own countries (if they are non-Annex I countries such as Malta) or in developing countries (in the case of Annex I countries). The reduced emissions may be claimed as credits that the country can use in order to reach its compliance target or sell to other countries. 

[5]               Government of Malta 2006. A Draft Renewable Energy Policy for Malta, Malta, August 2006.

[6]               MRES (Ministry of Resources and Infrastructure). 2006. A proposal for an Energy Policy for Malta.   

[7]               Government of Malta. 2008. National Energy Efficiency Action Plan, Malta, November 2008.

[8]               MRES (Ministry of Resources and Rural Affairs). 2009. A proposal for an Energy Policy for Malta, Malta, April 2009.

[9]               Climate Change Committee. (2009). National Strategy for Policy and Abatement Measures Relating to the Reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Consultation Report, Climate Change Committee, January 2009 [] accessed on 5th February 2009.

[10]             CEC (Commission of the European Communities). 2008. Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions:  2020 by 2020: Europe’s climate change opportunity COM (2008) 30 final, Commission of the European Communities, Brussels.

[11]             Indeed, the impact assessment on the EU Climate-Energy Package envisages a 10 percent RES target for Malta (CEC 2008x) (CEC (Commission of the European Communities). 2008. Commission Staff Working Document: Impact Assessment, Document accompanying Package of Implementation Measures for the EU’s objectives on Climate Change and Renewable Energy for 2020, SEC (2008) 85/3, Commission of the European Communities, Brussels).

[12]             Government of Malta 2006. A Draft Renewable Energy Policy for Malta, Malta, August 2006.

[13]             MEPA 2009 (MEPA (Malta Environment &  Planning Authority). 2009. Malta’s Biennial Report on Policies and Measures and Projected Greenhouse Gas emissions 2009, MEPA, Floriana.

[14]             These focus on more efficient energy generation at the power stations, including the installation of more efficient generating capacity, as well as a submarine cable interconnection to the European network.

[15]                    The latter include rebates on energy-efficient domestic appliances, promotion of solar water heaters, grants on purchase of micro RES generation equipment, and distribution of energy-saving lamps in the domestic sector.

[16]             This concerns a €10 million Malta Enterprise ERDF grant scheme to assist industry with projects, among them ones related to energy efficiency and use of RES.

[17]             Efficiency-related technical measures include improved energy efficiency in street lighting, energy saving in water production and distribution, and the installation of a steam recovery turbine at the Marsa Thermal Treatment Facility.

[18]             In order to raise awareness about RES with citizens using civic amenity sites, micro RES systems have been installed at these sites, and a RES centre will demonstrate various options at the closed Magħtab landfill.

[19]             The SWITCH campaign was launched in 2009.

[20]             LN 238 of 2006 under the Malta Resources Authority Act (Cap. 423) (Minimum Requirements on the Energy Performance of Building Regulations, 2006),.Revised regulations that take on board further provisions of the Directive were approved in October 2008 (LN 261 of 2008).

[21]             These include reform of the public transport system, an intelligent traffic management system, and promoting fuel-efficient vehicles through a revised vehicle registration system.

[22]             Waste-related measures include the combustion of methane generated by the Magħtab and Qortin landfill, gas management at the new non-hazardous managed landfills at Ta’ Żwejra and Għallis, The digestion process at the Sant’ Antnin Waste Treatment Plant, which will recover of biogas, the methane portion of which will be used for the generation of clean electricity, and anaerobic sludge digestion facilities with biogas production at the Malta South Sewage Treatment Plant.

[23]             Policy and Design Guidance 2007.  [, accessed 3rd June 2009].

[24]             Under the National Strategic Plan for Research and Innovation (Government of Malta. 2006. National Strategic Plan for Research and Innovation 2007-2010: Building and sustaining the R&I enabling framework, compiled by the Malta Council for Science and Technology for the Government of Malta.


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