Waiting for COP26, for Italy now the priority is the release of renewables. Word of Edo Ronchi

Waiting for COP26, for Italy now the priority is the release of renewables. Word of Edo Ronchi
Waiting for COP26, for Italy now the priority is the release of renewables. Word of Edo Ronchi

The curtain opens today Ecomondo, one of the most important international events for companies active in the green economy sector, at the Rimini Fair until 29 October. The tenth edition of the States General of the green economy.

A particular edition, because it takes place a few days before the start of the Cop26 in Glasgow (the United Nations Conference of the Parties on climate change on which the eyes of the world are focused) and coincides with the launch of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (the famous Pnrr) and, more generally, with the measures to revive the Italian economy after the recession caused by the pandemic. Among the key speakers there is Edo Ronchi, president of the Foundation for sustainable development and Minister of the Environment between 1996 and 2000. With him we tried to draw a synthetic picture of the current situation in Italy and beyond.

Very close to Cop26 in Glasgow: why is it so important?

There are four main objectives of Cop26 in Glasgow. First, the updating of national emission reduction plans in such a way as to realign them to the trajectory that leads to climate neutrality and the containment of global warming below 1.5 degrees compared to the pre-industrial era. The British management aims to translate national commitments into measures for the acceleration of climate policies: we are talking, in particular, of the gradual exit (phase-out) from coal, the increase in investments in the sector of renewable energies, of the electrification of transport.

The second objective concerns the strengthening of the measures of adaptation climate change and the protection of ecosystems and communities. The third is the mobilization of the world of finance: I am referring both to the $ 100 billion a year fund to support the ecological transition in developing countries and to the shift, more generally, of public and private investments in the direction of decarbonizzazione. The fourth point is this: we promote the climate initiative among individual governments, the business world and civil society, making the ecological transition a widespread commitment, which does not start only with global agreements. As the name of the campaign promoted by the United Nations says, it is a “Race to zero“, a race towards climate neutrality.

What are the expectations for this summit?

Certainly there has been an advance in the debate. My hope is that the broadest possible convergence on these objectives will be built. It will not be a unanimous convergence, but I hope that the most ambitious countries will not suffer the blackmail of the brakes and indeed challenge them on the terrain of competition from a decarbonised economy capable of generate wealth and employment. Decarbonization is an obligatory path: whoever starts first gets an advantage. Otherwise in a few years we find ourselves making an even worse damage count due to the climate crisis (which is a certainty, not an opinion).

And how does Italy arrive at this appointment? To use a scholastic metaphor, in some subjects we do well: for example in the field of the circular economy, right?

As regards both the circularity rate of materials and the recycling rate of total waste (and therefore not only urban waste), it is true, we are at the top in Europe. What more can we do? On the circular economy, first of all, measures are needed to finalize the “Enterprise 4.0“in a more targeted manner, investing in the eco-design of products and in the diffusion of circularity innovation. Second point, we need to simplify the procedures for recycling waste, the so-called discipline”end of waste“. The National Strategy for the circular economy is an interesting document, but very generic. It needs to be applied with more precise measures and objectives.

In other subjects, however, we are doing a little less well, such as for example in the development of renewable energies. In this regard, there is talk of a revision of the Pniec (the National Integrated Plan for Energy and Climate) …

Of course we have to review it. It is calibrated on the old European target of a reduction of net greenhouse gas emissions by 40% compared to 1990 levels. This year the European Union has raised the bar to 55%, and therefore the Stump it must be completely redone, both in terms of energy efficiency and in terms of renewables.

How then is the change of pace implemented?

According to a recent study carried out by Enel and The European House – Ambrosetti, with the current pace we would reach the achievement of the European targets in 2054. That is 24 years late. In 2020 we have installed about 800 MW of renewables, and we need to get to 7.000 MW per year to meet the objectives. We are not quite there. The change of pace is therefore necessary. How you do it? First of all, Regions and Municipalities must be involved in active plant development policies. The big problem is called then bureaucracy: procedures that are too long and cumbersome represent a brake, they must be absolutely streamlined.

And what do you think of the debate on nuclear power, which is back in our country today?

We have no time to waste. In addition to the speech of the relevant costs, we are now at the promise of generation IV nuclear reactors, which perhaps will be available in 10-15 years. But we have to move now: this is the decade in which the turning point is made and change begins.

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