Malta lags behind in renewable energy, R&D spending

(source: Unsplash/Karsten Würth)

Last Updated on Wednesday, 2 October, 2019 at 6:46 am by Christian Keszthelyi

Malta is lagging behind the European Union as a whole in terms of renewable energy and research and development expenditure, according to statistics recently published by Eurostat. Malta has also exceeded its 5% growth limit of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions increasing by 20.3% in non-ETS sectors.

The EU statistics office recently published a set of statistical articles on the Europe 2020 strategy, which is the European Union’s agenda for jobs and growth for the current decade. The Eurostat offers an analysis of Malta as of 2017.

Malta met its primary energy consumption target of 0.7 million tonnes of oil equivalent (toe) in 2016. One toe is the amount of energy released when burning one tonne of crude oil. It approximately equals 42 gigajoules or 11,630 kilowatt-hours.

Additionally, Malta increased its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in non-ETS sectors by 20.3%, significantly exceeding its Europe 2020 target of limiting such emissions increase to 5%. Non-ETS emissions include transport, agriculture, waste and industrial emissions outside the European Union’s Emissions Trading System (ETS) and the municipal and housing sector with buildings, small sources, households and services.

Overview of Malta focussing on the changes since 2008 in relation to national targets. (source: Eurostat’s Europe 2020 indicators published in September 2019)

The number of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion in Malta increased by 4.9% between 2008 and 2016, which the Eurostat says has moved the island nation further away from its Europe 2020 goal.

Malta’s steady employment rate increase since 2014, however, helped the island nation reach its respective Europe 2020 target in 2017, the Eurostat publication says.

Due to continuous increases in the share of the 30-34 age group with tertiary education 2008 and 2017, Malta has come within 3 percentage points of its national target by 2020. Nevertheless, a significant drop in the share of early leavers from education and training since 2008 to 2016, Malta had further to go to reach its national 2020 target, when compared to other member states.

Europe 2020 emphasises smart, sustainable and inclusive growth as a way to strengthen the EU economy and prepare its structure for the challenges of the next decade, the Eurostat says in its publication. The strategy aims to drive high levels of employment, productivity and social cohesion in EU member states while also reducing the impact on the natural environment, the publication adds.

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