Greenhouse gases affect the climate by altering the incoming solar radiation and the out-going thermal radiation, as part of the Earth’s energy balance. The presence of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is a natural phenomenon that enables Earth to maintain its natural processes and therefore life within it. This balance however is currently threatened. Human activities contribute to climate change by altering concentrations of greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere. The largest known contribution comes from the burning of fossil fuels, which releases carbon dioxide gas to the atmosphere.
Since the start of the industrial revolution, the overall effect of human activities on climate has been a warming influence. Scientific data shows that the human impact on climate since the industrial revolution greatly exceeds that due to known changes in natural processes. This increased warming is expected to lead to significant changes in natural processes upon which life on earth and ultimately humankind depends. If left unchecked, the changes can be irreversible. Action to combat climate change depends on two main processes: mitigation and adaptation. Climate change mitigation involves the human intervention to reduce the sources of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and the enhancement of sinks for greenhouse gases. Climate change adaptation refers to actions aimed at minimising the vulnerability of natural and human systems, against actual or expected climate change effects.
Action to combat global climate change requires a global commitment. The main scope of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is to encourage industrialised countries to limit or reduce their greenhouse gases emissions to the atmosphere. Additionally, the Kyoto Protocol commits such countries to limit or reduce their greenhouse gases emissions. To assist Parties in meeting this goal, the Kyoto Protocol introduced three market-based mechanisms - Kyoto mechanisms - thereby creating what is now known as the “carbon market. The Kyoto mechanisms are (a) Emissions Trading, (b) The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and (c) Joint Implementation (JI).
Malta ratified the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1994 as a non-Annex I party and the Kyoto Protocol in the same capacity in 2001. As a non-Annex party Malta submitted its First National Communication in 2004.
The Malta Environment and Planning Authority is currently responsible for the implementation of a number of climate change measures in Malta emerging from the EU’s environmental acquis and the corresponding international obligations resulting from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. MEPA is not responsible for the development and implementation of national Climate Change Policy in Malta. The information provided within this website is dedicated to provide up-to-date information on MEPA’s functions related to Climate Change according to its dossier. Such functions pertain to monitoring of GHG emissions , administering the Emissions Trading Scheme, acting as Designated National Authority for CDM and providing guidance on adaptation measures.