Edwin Ward, chairman of Paragon Europe. Photo: Matthew MirabelliEdwin Ward, chairman of Paragon Europe. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

Malta could end up a desert by the turn of the century, if no immediate action is taken about climate change, with the effects kicking in by 2030.

An advisory company has started looking at Malta as a case study for best practices – that could be applied to the rest of the Mediterranean countries – to mitigate climate change

Speaking to this newspaper ahead of a conference next week, Edwin Ward, chairman of Paragon Europe, referred to a study by Joel Guiot of Aix-Marseille University.

The researcher has stated that unless temperature increases were kept below 1.5˚C, Mediterranean ecosystems will change: temperatures could rise by nearly 5˚C globally by 2100, causing deserts to expand northwards across southern Spain, Malta and Sicily.

“By 2030 there would be the first signs, some of which are already here – we have changes in sea levels and temperature, more frequent jellyfish appearances, and algae killing off other species.

“In a few decades, the island will be nothing like it is today. Coastal erosion and periods of drought will intensify, and the strain on our water infrastructure will increase,” Mr Ward said, adding that this could ultimately affect tourism.

READ: 'Assume things are going to get worse'

Mr Ward hopes that next week’s conference will provide some solutions to the climate change challenge. Called 'Towards a Zero Carbon Economy Beyond 2030', it is being held on Monday in conjunction with the EU’s Climate-KIC project and supported by the Environment Ministry.

Some 200 delegates will be converging in Malta to discuss green urban centres, green finance and circular economy.

The conference is being held during Malta’s Presidency of the EU Council and the ultimate aim will be to draft a set of proposals for a zero carbon economy.

Island will be nothing like it is today

It has already been reported that Malta had the lowest share of renewables among EU countries in 2015.

The share of renewables in gross final consumption of energy is one of the headline indicators of the Europe 2020 strategy.

The target to be reached by 2020 is a share of 20 per cent energy from renewable sources.

According to Eurostat, the lowest proportions of renewables were registered in Luxembourg and Malta (five per cent).

Still, Paragon believes that Malta could be a test case for the rest of the Mediterranean.

Malta could host what Mr Ward calls “an innovation hub on climate” and share best practices with other European countries.

One such EU-funded project, which Paragon is already running, looks into ways to artificially recharge the aquafer.

Those interested can send an e-mail to: projects@paragoneurope.eu.

What can you do?

▪ Wash clothes in cold water to save at least €100 yearly.

▪ Insulate roofs and walls to save around 50 per cent on cooling/heating costs.

▪ Turn off all lights, appliances and electronics not in use.

▪ Update your light bulbs. Reduce energy use from about a third to 80 per cent with energy-efficient halogen incandescent, CFLs and LEDs.

▪ Look for eco-label products, energy efficiency symbols to save up to 30 per cent on electricity bills.

▪ Use low-flow faucets and shower heads.

▪ Clean or change AC filters regularly.

▪ Reduce water heater temperature to save energy  and wrap the water storage tank in a specially-designed “blanket” to retain heat.

▪ Seal air leaks on windows and doors.

▪ Install PV panels and solar water heaters.

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