Watch: ‘People don’t need to get rid of their cars’ – Miriam Dalli

The new law which MEP Miriam Dalli is pushing to reduce pollution coming from cars does not mean that people need to get rid of their cars to adhere. This was clarified in an interview with the MEP on RTK’s Newsline in which emissions and her recent accolade as ‘The Eco-Warrior’ by Politico was discussed. 

During the interview, Dr Dalli spoke about the opposition and the hardships when it comes to pushing a green agenda. “It isn’t an easy law because, as you can imagine, the car industry is very strong and not only the car industry,” explained the MEP. “You also have the fuel industry which is very strong too. Their lobby is very powerful, and the more negotiations progress, the more you begin to realise which countries have their hands tied, or bow their heads to these kinds of lobbies.”

In the draft law voted on in October, MEPs proposed setting a higher target for reducing EU fleet-wide emissions for new cars by 2030 of 40% (compared to the EU Commission’s 30%; year of reference 2021) with an intermediate target of 20% by 2025. Similar targets are set for new vans.

Dr Dalli said that the transport sector “is the only sector which increased pollution,” adding that “it is also a sector that has the potential to reduce CO2 and other emissions that cause climate change.” The MEP explained that if we carry on as is, “even until 2050 the temperature could rise by 2 or 3 degrees celsius.”

When it came to practical applications in Malta, Dr Dalli explained that the law addresses car manufacturers. “It means that we will have cleaner cars on the roads, cleaner fuel, and cleaner technology.” It was very important to clarify that “this is not a traffic solution”. Although this is not in any way angled at reducing traffic, at least the traffic created by new cars should still reduce the respiratory impact on citizens, she reiterated.

Floriana, Ħamrun, and even Valletta were mentioned during the interview as people have spoken to the MEP pointing out that “even buildings are turning black with exhaust.” When it comes to health, children are the most affected by exhaust fumes as they are shorter than adults and are directly exposed to them.

Earlier this month, Malta was said to currently be second to last in Europe, beaten to the bottom by Cyprus, when it comes to the percentage gap to the 2030 Effort sharing target with existing measures according to a report published by the European Environment Agency.