COP28: Italy and the challenge of transition

Gilberto Pichetto Fratin, Minister of the Environment and Energy Security highlights Italy's initiatives towards climate change action

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Gilberto Pichetto Fratin, Minister of Environment and Energy Security
Gilberto Pichetto Fratin, Minister of Environment and Energy Security

Published: Thu 21 Dec 2023, 11:25 AM

Last updated: Tue 9 Jan 2024, 1:32 PM

Italy brought to Cop28 its own idea of the future: ambitious, realistic, without ideologies. And it contributed, as part of Europe's joint work, to the achievement of a satisfactory result. In this historical phase, characterised by strong international tensions that also reverberate on the environmental and energy transition process, the understanding concluded in Dubai was able to agree all states, even in their different priorities, on a common path and language.

On fossil fuels we sought a better drop point, but a clear message of acceleration towards their gradual abandonment is enshrined in the understanding, with the concomitant strong affirmation of renewables and the recognition of key roles for new instruments of decarbonization.

Italy's initiative, through the work of the Ministry of the Environment and Energy Security, was oriented on a strong negotiating pragmatism, attentive at a time to compliance with the commitments reached in the 2015 Paris Agreement and to the economic-social sustainability of the choices.

A cornerstone of the path that led the Italian government all the way to Dubai was the intergenerational discussion.The Youth4Climate event, which we held in Rome in mid-October, aimed to tell the story of a world of prepared and active young people, ready to move from protest to proposal. One hundred and thirty young people from more than sixty countries around the world were able to tell their innovative ideas on topics such as urban sustainability, energy, food and agriculture, and climate education.48 projects were rewarded with an economic contribution that will be used to develop them in their target areas.

At all times, the Ministry has wanted to listen to the voice of the youngest: by its nature disruptive, but always at risk of remaining unheard, because it is "closed" in an enclosure of protest alone. Italy, on the other hand, wanted to release this great positive energy, bringing the instances of Youth4Climate to Dubai: because without an intergenerational sharing of the path and the things to be done, every goal will be precluded. This is why, in the Italian pavilion at Cop28, there were over a hundred events involving young people, businesses and national institutions, all present in Dubai with clear plans and ideas.

Italy brought to Dubai advanced planning in all respects: the National Integrated Energy and Climate Plan outlines a clear and realistic path to reach the European 2030 targets, with 131 Gigawatts of electric renewables capacity by 2030. Alongside this, the government has "taken from the drawer" and approved the updated National Climate Change Adaptation Plan: a framework of 361 actions and interventions, which serve to strengthen resilience, reduce vulnerabilities, and contain risks by intervening on all systems.

Great emphasis was placed by Italy on its commitment to the countries most exposed to climate change: it was in fact, with one hundred million, among the largest contributors in Europe to the new "Loss and Damage" fund, one of the most positive legacies of this Cop28. Italy thus renewed its commitment to a just transition, in solidarity first and foremost with those who have paid severely for the effects of "climate change." In the following days, Italy announced further commitments of three hundred million on the Green Climate Fund and ten for programmes linking food and climate change.

Italy, at the same time, wanted in this COP to reinforce and in some cases sign new agreements with some of the most vulnerable states, thus enabling the implementation and revitalization of strategic projects: this is the case, for example, with the agreements reached in America with Mexico and Peru, as well as with the membership of the Amazon Fund, in the Middle East with Lebanon and Jordan, in Africa through the agreement with Ethiopia, Morocco and a new "memorandum" with Uganda. Even with Ukraine, Italy has signed an agreement to rebuild the energy system through the development of renewables, biomethane and hydrogen.

In short, we continue to be strongly committed to a true transition, matching decarbonisation needs with growing opportunities for sustainable development.

The path of negotiation continues and Italy is already back at work to follow up on its vision for tomorrow, for a cleaner environment and a source of lasting growth.

Allow me, in conclusion of this speech, to extend an affectionate greeting to the Italian community in the Emirates, which brings traditions, intelligence and the great tricolour talent to this territory so committed to building the future.

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