Remarks by Chargé d’Affaires Gwendolyn “Wendy” Green
U.S. National Science Foundation Project
Nature-based Solutions for Urban Resilience in the Anthropocene
Monday, April 4, 2022
“President Emeritus Coleiro Preca, Distinguished Guests,
Thank you, Dr. Balzan, for inviting me to participate in this important conference. It is uplifting to see so many international scientists and researchers here today.
Today you will exchange knowledge and best practices that confront the increasing threats of climate change to our global community and develop strategies to ensure environmental sustainability and security. These conversations play an important role in global economic growth and prosperity, particularly at this very pressing moment of unprecedented sanctions against the Putin regime due to his illegal and criminal invasion of Ukraine and the resulting global economic challenges.
We are entering a decisive decade for the world to confront climate change and avoid the irreversible impacts of the crisis. The countries that take urgent and decisive action now will reap the economic and security benefits of a clean energy future.
Let me begin by reflecting on the efforts that the United States is taking to confront the climate crisis. On Day One after his inauguration, President Biden rejoined the Paris Agreement and reestablished our position to tackle the climate crisis at home and abroad. Days later, he took executive actions to ensure we tackle environmental risks – all while creating jobs and growing our economy. And each day since, the U.S. government has worked to reduce emissions, advance environmental justice, and create good-paying jobs.
From curbing emissions, strengthening resilience, protecting public health, advancing equity, conserving lands and waters, and spurring economic growth, combatting climate change is central to every mission across the U.S. government.
We are committed to reducing greenhouse gas pollution from 2005 levels by 50-52 percent in 2030. We are also committed to creating a carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035. Finally, we are committed to reaching net-zero emissions economy-wide by no later than 2050.
But we know that no single country can address the climate crisis alone. Global cooperation is vital for success. We must work together to secure an environmentally sustainable future for our children.
In April 2021, the United States joined a historic gathering of more than 40 world leaders that affirmed the need for global cooperation and ambition. We pledged to quadruple our international climate finance and rally the rest of the world to step up, underscoring how strong domestic action goes hand-in-hand with international leadership.
The international community has also joined together in response to the Putin regime’s unjustified and premeditated invasion of Ukraine, which violated the core principles that uphold global peace and security and disrupted energy supplies. Together with our international partners, we imposed severe and immediate economic costs on Russia, and we continue to do so.
On March 25, the United States and the European Commission announced a joint task force to reduce Europe’s dependence on Russian fossil fuels and strengthen European energy security.
This task force will work to ensure energy security for Ukraine and the EU, while supporting the EU’s goal to end its dependence on Russian fossil fuels.
The United States and the European Commission will engage key stakeholders, including the private sector, and deploy immediate recommendations to reduce overall gas demand. A key element of this approach will be accelerating the deployment of clean energy measures.
Malta has shown great leadership in committing to financial sanctions against the Putin regime and offering humanitarian support for the Ukrainian people. Our partnership in these efforts underscores that the United States and Malta stand resolutely united as partners in confronting global challenges.
In fact, here in Malta, we have long been working closely with the Maltese government to support its National Energy and Climate Plan. We support the Maltese government’s commitment to achieve greater supply security through the diversification of energy sources and suppliers, as well as by reducing energy import dependency.
The work you are doing here at this conference right now has never been more important. With new images of the destruction wrought by Vladimir Putin across Ukraine emerging everyday, it is clear that the challenges of urban renewal have taken on a whole new level of relevance and urgency.
Before I close, let me share a bit about how we serve as a model by putting action into our words and serving as examples of environmental stewardship here in Malta. Our own Embassy is a LEED Silver certified “green” building. It incorporates the latest strategies for sustainable site development, water conservation, energy savings, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality. It combines environmentally-sound practices with economic efficiency with a 350-kilowatt solar project and a wind turbine, which take advantage of Malta’s abundant wind and sunshine.
In an effort to diminish the Embassy’s impact on the environment, the building includes energy-efficient windows, sun deflection details and a water-catchment system, among other features. Our efforts to build an environmentally friendly building that both complements and enhances the local environment show our commitment to be a responsible custodian of this land and a good neighbor to the residents of the Ta’ Qali area.
I am also proud to see our embassy leading in efforts to promote science and technology studies for Malta’s next generation of environmental leaders.
One of the principal goals of my Embassy is to encourage Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) studies and STEM careers in Malta, especially among girls and young women.
We do this through our strong partnerships with the Ministry for Education, the University of Malta, and local NGOs.
One example is our fifteen-year partnership with the Ministry for Education and the University of Malta’s Center for Environmental Education and Research to implement a NASA-led learning program for citizen scientists. NASA is the premier space agency of the United States. It is amazing that NASA supports the Global Learning and Observation to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) program in Malta.
GLOBE is a worldwide international science program that prepares students for careers in STEM fields, which are a major source of modern, sustainable economic growth. GLOBE has repeatedly recognized Maltese and Gozitan students as top contributors of quality scientific data and analysis.
In recognition of our efforts to support the Maltese government’s strategy to promote a knowledge- and innovation-based economy, in 2021 the Maltese government selected my Embassy as the recipient of the Education Partnership Award in the first edition of the Malta STEM Education Awards – a proud moment for my colleagues and me.
Today’s conference is a fine example of cooperation and commitment to reverse climate change, safeguard our environment, and promote sustainable economic growth. Working together with like-minded partners, we can rise to the challenge – be it tackling the challenges of urban green space in the world’s megacities like New Delhi and Mexico City or looking at sustainable and responsible ways to rebuild in the aftermath of conflict in cities like Kyiv and Mariupol. We owe it to our children and future generations and we owe to the people of Ukraine.”