These days, it is easy to assume that sufficient climate action is already being taken. EU countries are discussing new climate targets for 2030 and talk about a “green recovery” from the Covid-19 economic crisis. Almost every speech by EU leaders touches on the climate and ministries publish “sustainability reports”. This is a problem, as one of humanity’s greatest, present threats is the belief that real sufficient climate action is being taken, that things are being taken care of – when in fact they’re not. Not at all.
Right now, we are witnessing a world that has warmed by about 1.2 degrees celsius. And this world is burning, while whole ecosystems are collapsing and species are going extinct. This world is melting. People are fleeing from their homes as catastrophes grow more extreme and hit more frequently. It is hard to imagine what a world that has warmed by 1.5 degrees or even 2 degrees would look like. And currently we are on a pathway towards a world that is at least 3 degrees hotter.
Therefore, we are bringing a clear message to our meeting with Prime Minister Conte today: We are in a climate emergency which is already affecting our present. And our future will be in danger as long as the climate crisis isn't treated as a crisis. It is time to act. Not tomorrow, not next year, but now. Dealing with the health, social and economic impacts of the covid-19 pandemic must of course be an utmost priority right now. But the climate crisis is not going away, and we have no choice but to deal with multiple crises at once.
The proposed 55%, 60% or even 65% CO2 emission reduction targets for the EU by 2030 are nowhere near enough to be in line with the below 1.5°C or even the “well below 2°C” target of the Paris Agreement. The time for ”little steps in the right direction” is long gone and yet this is – at best – exactly what our leaders are trying to achieve. They are stealing our future right in front of our eyes.
The EU’s targets have many serious loopholes. They do not, for example, include international aviation, shipping nor consumption of goods manufactured outside the EU. They’re inconsistent with the IPCC 2010 baseline. And, perhaps most importantly, the proposed reductions ignore the aspect of equity, which is absolutely essential for making the Paris Agreement work on a global level.
The nations of the EU have clearly signed up to lead the way and to give low- and middle income countries a chance to raise their living standards and build some of the infrastructure that we have already built – most of it by using fossil fuels during the last two centuries. This includes roads, hospitals, clean drinking water, schools, electricity and so on. If we fail to go first like we’ve promised – then how can we expect that countries like China or India will do their fair share?
Today, we are asking Prime Minister Conte for the same things that we have asked all other EU leaders. It’s time to stop pretending that we can solve the climate crisis without treating it as a crisis.
As a very first step, Italy and other countries must immediately halt investments in all fossil fuel exploration and extraction, end all fossil fuel subsidies and divest from all coal, oil and gas.
In Europe, Italy needs to ensure that the new EU targets are in line with the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global heating to 1.5°C, without using loopholes or creative accounting.
Italy will host the G20 and co-host the COP26 climate summit next year and must take a leadership role. This includes stopping all investments in fossil fuels both in Italy and abroad.
In 2019, the Italian export credit agency SACE provided over €4 billion in export credits for gas and oil investment. It is also considering to finance €1 billion for gas exploration and extraction in the Arctic. Italy is also spending approximately 18 billions euros every year in perverse subsidies to fossil fuel corporations – the same corporations that are allowed to teach about climate change in schools and pass off fossil gas as the silver bullet to stop the emergency. It’s hard to think of a better way to ignore a crisis.
Similarly, drilling for gas and other fossil fuels in the Mediterranean Sea and African countries is in no way compatible with the goals and principles of the Paris Agreement, which Italy and all EU countries have signed.
We truly want to believe that our leaders care about our future. We believe that everyone has a responsibility. The stronger the responsibility in society, the stronger the responsibility to face the climate emergency. The media needs to inform us, politicians and business leaders need to take action at the pace and scale required.
In Italy, we recently arranged a major action again, with protests in more than 100 cities. We assure you that we will not stop until we see real action to protect our future.
Ci vediamo in piazza.
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