Don’t believe the counterfeiters!

The Nationalist Party’s poor green credentials
Ralph Cassar

Having PN executive committee members like Caroline Galea (Sustaining The Green Debate, January 7) and PN candidates for the European Parliament writing articles extolling the supposedly green credentials of the Gonzi government does not make the PN green; not even pale green.

Consulting opinion polls and realising that the middle class have become more aware of green issues must have led the PN to plagiarise AD’s eco-Gozo proposal (with no real progress as yet) to do a volta face and profess the importance of renewable energy while not so long ago Austin Gatt rubbished alternative sources of energy. In the same breath this government is ignoring Maltese scientists and experts in this area who are calling for a strategy different from the government’s Sikka l-Bajda adventure. Indeed, how can one believe a Prime Minister who vowed that he would build a golf course in Xagħra l-Ħamra only to change course at a later stage on the basis of political expediency? The area previously earmarked for a golf course by none other than Lawrence Gonzi himself is still just a national park on paper only.

Hopefully, the NGOs entrusted with running the Majjistral Park will put their expertise to good use to get the government moving. Throwing around buzz words and slogans to dupe the misinformed does not make Dr Gonzi and the PN green. Far from it.

Ms Galea says that “climate change and alternative energy grabbed the limelight in 2008”. They may have grabbed the attention of the strategists at Pietà, but climate change and alternative energy have been on progressive green agendas for at least 20 years now. Wind energy is comparable or even cheaper than fossil fuel energy. As regards bio-fuel, extreme care must be taken not to make staple-foods from which ethanol is made-prohibitively expensive. If a field of corn is priced at the price of conventional fuels what we face is a world with even more poverty, hunger and threats to our collective security.

As for the complaint of “dragging our feet”, as Ms Galea remarked, who has been in government for the last 20 years almost uninterruptedly? The Nationalist government is still dragging its feet. The budget measures on renewable energy are but a drop in the ocean, and are more or less just cosmetic “look we’re doing something” measures. The way forward is first of all fuel efficiency, followed by sustained serious investment and incentives in renewable energy systems.

Another important issue is the urgent overhaul of the public transport system – another case of feet dragging and, worst of all, promises that nothing will change for years on end, obviously because getting at least one more vote than the opposition parties is the all-important target for the PN.

What about the building spree because of the Nationalist government’s decision to rezone whole areas of the country, allowing citizens to be buried alive in their homes – Attard, Swieqi, Sliema, Iklin, Lija, Balzan and many other places – and more than 4,000 permits outside development zones?

What Ms Galea has failed to mention is the regressive “leadership” of the European Peoples’ Party in the European Parliament and of other conservative governments.

The EPP and Angela Merkel, not to mention Silvio Berlusconi, have consistently given in to multinational corporations and diluted measures intended to seriously tackle climate change and pollution.

According to Friends of the Earth Europe’s EU vote watch, although sometimes MEPs vote tactically and “sacrifice” a certain vote in order to win another, the EPP is the worst political group by far when it comes to voting on environmental (including quality of life and pollution) issues. It ranks last of all the political groups, voting in an eco-friendly manner only 21.7 per cent of the time( The facts are crystal clear, propaganda will not change the truth one bit.

At the European level we need Alternattiva Demokratika MEPs to work for progressive, ecologist and visionary policies. Go for the original; not for a very poor counterfeit.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: