Italy Reduced Its Emissions by 19.4% Between 1990 and 2019

This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard Italy Country Manager Andrea Bruno


Italy Reduced Its Emissions by 19.4% Between 1990 and 2019

Italy’s efforts and targets to reduce emissions are inherently connected with the EU decisions and guidelines. Recently, the European Union has drafted a new deal on the European Climate Law aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030, against 1990 levels, which is an important increase compared to the previous objective of 40% reduction established under the umbrella of the Paris Agreement (European Commission , 2021). As a member of the EU, Italy has the same objective. Does Italy have a National Plan to reach EU emissions reduction targets? What is the current level of Italy’s emissions?

This Post is going to provide an answer to these questions, offering an overview of the Italian efforts to reduce GHG emissions.

Figure 1 – Greenhouse Gas Emissions, base year 1990

Source: (European Commission, 2020)

The graph above shows the level of GHG emissions compared to 1990 levels for Italy and the EU average. It is immediately apparent how emissions are decreasing, but Italy’s trend is still above the EU average. Be that as it may, the gap is shrinking. It is worth looking at the Italian emissions in more detail. Indeed, Italy produces its own emissions data every year thanks to the annual national GHG inventory of ISPRA (Istituto superiore per la protezione e la ricerca ambientale).

Figure 2 –  National greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 to 2019 (without LULUCF) (Mt CO2 eq.)

Source: (ISPRA, 2021)

“Total greenhouse gas emissions, in CO2 equivalent, excluding emissions and removals from LULUCF (Land use, land-use change, and forestry), have decreased by 19.4% between 1990 and 2019, varying from 519 to 418 CO2 equivalent million tons (Mt)” (ISPRA, 2021).

The most important greenhouse gas is CO2, accounting for 81.2% of total emissions. According to current data, Italy met its 2020 targets coming from the Climate & Energy Package of the EU, establishing a 13% emissions reduction compared to 2005 levels and a 17% renewable energy share. Indeed, a 19.4% emissions reduction was achieved, and renewable energy share reached 18,27%. Nonetheless, the past targets were not sufficient to meet the 1.5° goal established by the Paris Agreement.

Italy Announces Goal to Cut Emissions by 60% by 2030 but Lacks Plan to Do So

Under the Effort Sharing Regulation (ESR), Italy established its new target for 2030, which is a 33% emissions reduction compared to 2005 (emissions not covered by the EU-ETS). Once again according to an EU Commission analysis of the 2019 Italian Integrated National Energy and Climate Plan, “the planned policies and measures would be sufficient for Italy to meet this target, with a particularly important contribution coming from the transport and building sectors” (EU Commission, 2019). Once again, however, albeit on track, these objectives are not ambitious enough.

Therefore, as anticipated in the introduction of this article, the EU has raised the bar adopting a (at least) 55% reduction target by 2030 and climate neutrality by 2050. Consequently, Italy has the same targets, but its existing policies are insufficient to reach such ambitious goals. Moreover, the new Draghi’s government, together with the new Ecology Minister’s Roberto Cingolani, announced they plan to cut emissions by 60% by 2030 using €80 billion of EU funds for the energy transition in the next 5 years (Reuters, 2021). How is this going to happen? This is still unclear. The first step has been the €222.1 billion Italian Recovery Plan (Piano di Ripresa e Reselienza), the European Union’s most expensive national recovery plan, which funds for a large ecological transition. However, to meet the government’s new goal, Italy needs to update its National Energy and Climate Plan using the EU’s European Green Deal as a guideline. The timing and the extent to which this is going to happen is still ambiguous and a 2050 plan for climate neutrality is completely missing.

Contact: Roberto Cingolani, Ministro della Transizione Ecologica



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