Welcome back to Climate Weekly!
Today we are heading to Italy with Marta Viganò, where emissions are down almost 10% but the canals of Venice are dry.
I am Marta, an Italian reporter studying journalism in the UK. This week, why don’t we share some nostalgia as we walk through biggest climate stories in my home, the Bel Paese (the beautiful country), or as you may call it, Italy.
How the climate became a kingmaker in Italian politics
On Jan 13, in the middle of the coronavirus crisis, the 2nd version of Giuseppe Conte’s government lost their majority. This kickstarted a process to establish a new, technical and political administration in Italy with a green agenda and a digital approach. It is led by Former ECB president, Mario Draghi.
One of the first actions of Draghi’s government was to create a Ministry of Ecological Transition. This was seen by many as a move to secure the support of the anti-establishment populist 5 Star Movement party. This goes to show that in modern Italian politics, climate change is becoming a political weapon.
The ministry aims to consolidate and rejuvenate Italy’s energy policy, previously scattered across many different ministries. It will also decide how to allocate our €70 billion share of EU Next Generation funds. These were made possible through the green COVID recovery plans the EU has agreed on.
Roberto Cingolani, a scientist, has been appointed to lead the country’s green transition. However, many climate activists are worried about his perspectives on methane gas and his background in the Italian weapons company, Leonardo.
May of his critics led a virtual protest to demand a rapid transformation of our national climate policies, especially in the lead up to the G20 meeting in October, hosted by Italy.
Only time will tell how strong the commitment to green policies is, but Italy’s decision to offer its first-ever green bond in the coming days seems to be a good sign.
Venice is dry!
One of the most famous Italian cities is Venice, often in the news for its floods and for slowly sinking into the sea.
In late February, something unexpected happened. In fact, the floating city has recently experienced very severe “low water” as a result of restricted rainfalls and full moon, leaving gondolas lying in dried-up canal beds.
Italy’s emissions fell by 10%
According to recently released data by the Institute for Environmental Protection and Research, greenhouse gas emissions dropped by 9.8% last year compared to 2019. This was largely linked to the intermittent strain of lockdowns Italy experienced in the past year.
The real challenge, however, is cutting emissions even in non-pandemic times, and globally. According to the latest IEA data on global CO2 emissions trends, we’re heading upwards again after our short term drop in April last year.
A innovative drop in the Ocean
Italians aren’t often celebrated these days for our scientific prowess, but I’d like to now.
Last week in the media, we heard about a team of Italian scientists working on a project aimed at tackling acidification by spreading alkaline substances across the Mediterranean.
And in another collaboration, between the University of Milan-Bicocca and the Republic of Maldives, is set to conduct a census of the most effective coral reef restoration techniques, as it aims to draft guidelines on their application and identifying good practices.
That’s it for now, I hope you enjoyed the tour and of course,
That’s it for now.
Marta had so much to share that I won’t bore you with a thought for the week. However, if I were you, I’d look out for 2 key events this weekend.
China’s 5 year plan
The OECD will name a new leader, and it could be a climate denier from Australia
If you have any questions, comments or want to get involved, email me at email@example.com.