This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard Italy Country Manager Andrea Bruno
The two Climate Scorecard country climate commitment goals consist of reducing emissions by 50% by 2030 and becoming carbon neutral by 2050. Italy is on track at least as far as these objectives are concerned. Indeed, being part of the EU, Italy shares with the other Member States the target of 55% emissions reduction by 2030 and the achievement of climate neutrality by 2050. However, obstacles remain.
Historically in Italy, two hindrances have been interfering with policy reforms towards sustainable development and against climate change: the lack of leadership and the lack of resources. The covid-19 pandemic, however, called for a quick and effective response which triggered a united reply of the European Union in the form of financial aids for the recovery. This, in Italy, occurred at the same time as a change of leadership, which in February 2021 brought Professor Mario Draghi to lead the government. Therefore, nor the lack of resources nor the lack of leadership are a problem at present. Be that as it may, the risk of failing the established targets exists, and the obstacles vary according to the year considered.
- The 2030 major obstacle is the construction of an implementation plan which is in line with EU objectives. Each Member State, including Italy, has to implement the European Green Deal through a National plan. The first step in this direction has been the recent “Piano di Ripresa e Resilienza”, the Italian Recovery Plan. However, this 5-year plan is not in line with the more ambitious EU 2030 climate objectives. In addition, traditional socio-cultural unreadiness is hindering the transition in Italy, with traditionalist fossil fuels companies lobbying to attract investments in ambiguous sectors, as in the case of ENI pushing for financing blue hydrogen through Next Generation EU.
- The path to 2050 climate neutrality is at risk because of a long-lasting Italian issue, which can be summarized with the word “short-termism”. The advent of new governments before the end of the legislature often prevents the country from having long-term programmatic strategies, with new leaders eager to demonstrate fast results. This, in turn, results in leaving the problem of disentangling economic growth from emissions’ rise unresolved. Fighting climate change is still unpopular for a great part of the population, and therefore, for policymakers affected by short-termism.
Italy should engage youth in the fight against climate change
Several strategies might be designed to overcome such obstacles. First, a national plan in line with the new objective of 55% by 2030 and with the European Green Deal must be designed by the current government. This is crucial to reach the target. Climate neutrality by 2050 is even more complex and long-term strategies are necessary. A long-term climate plan with aggressive policies to reduce emissions is a first step. However, in order to make it socially acceptable and politically feasible, youth need to be involved. Young people throughout Europe and the rest of the world are signaling that climate change is the #1 issue of concern to them. Young people in Italy are no different. Political leaders need to start enlisting their help in designing and implementing climate change policy.
Contact: Roberto Cingolani, Ministro della Transizione Ecologica
Image Source: Columbia Basin Environmental Education Network