Malta is bucking a Europe-wide trend to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, registering the highest increase in emissions across the bloc, according to Eurostat data published on Wednesday.

Malta’s greenhouse gas emissions in the second quarter of 2023 increased by almost 8% over the same period in 2022 according to Eurostat data published on Wednesday. This is almost more than three points higher than second-placed Latvia, which registered a 4.5% increase.

Meanwhile, greenhouse gas emissions decreased in 21 of the EU’s 27 member states, with Bulgaria and Estonia leading the way with decreases of over 23%. On average, the EU managed to reduce its emissions by just over 5% over the same period last year.

This is not the first time that Malta has registered a similar increase. Malta’s greenhouse gas emissions increased by an almost identical 7.7% in the third quarter of 2022 and by 6.5% in the last three months of last year.

On the other hand, the first quarter of 2023 saw Malta’s emissions remain virtually identical to those at the beginning of last year.

Malta’s per capita emissions still amongst the lowest in Europe

However, it’s not all bad news.

Malta’s rate of per capita emissions remains among the lowest in Europe at 1.16 tonnes per capita. Only Sweden registered a lower rate, pipping Malta to the post at 1.15 tonnes per capita.

The data shows that Malta and Sweden have been trading places at the foot of the European table for the past year, both of them scoring significantly lower rates of emissions than the EU average of 1.82 tonnes per capita.

On the other hand, Ireland has consistently topped the table at just under 4 tonnes per capita, closely followed by Malta’s fellow European minnow Luxembourg.

In total, EU countries were responsible for 821 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions just in the second quarter of 2023, compared with 867 million tonnes during the same months in the previous year.

Malta has historically fared poorly in addressing emissions targets, often registering amongst the highest rates of CO2 emissions in Europe and being expected to miss its carbon emission targets by a massive 62%.

These dismal figures are often attributed to Malta’s inability to address its car dependency, with latest figures showing that 43 new vehicles are being added to the road each day.

Cutting down on carbon emissions remains a key goal across the EU, with the bloc having set a target of reducing emissions by 55% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels, and eventually becoming carbon neutral by 2050.

Energy minister Miriam Dalli has in the past admitted that Malta needs “to do much more” to reduce its emissions by addressing its transport sector and investing further in renewable energy.

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