MILAN - Our climate is changing and health risks linked to heat waves are increasing. The impact of extreme atmospheric events is now stronger and more frequent, phenomena that "affect the levels of smog in cities". This is the framework provided by the new report, “Italian cities to meet the climate challenge” set out by Legambiente in collaboration with the Ministry of the Environment and presented on the 9th February in Rome. "Italian cities - says the Minister of the Environment, Gian Luca Galletti - are now faced with violent and previously unseen atmospheric conditions, that within a matter of days can range from severe storm landslides to the rivers drying up and blankets of smog: for this reason we must adapt our urban centres with ever greater urgency within a continually evolving climatic situation, which will also change our social environment and economic prospects".
Cities are the solution
Cities are therefore the first victims of climate change, but are also the solution, given that by increasing the efficiency of buildings and transport, greenhouse gas emissions could certainly be reduced. Cities are affected by hydro-geological instability linked to ongoing climate change and by misguided practices. In the meantime – the Minister of the Environment - has stated that 800 million Euro has been made available in landslide areas for land maintenance.
Cities "are the solution - stated Galletti - and the majority of citizens live in the cities, so it is clear that priority interventions must take place here, though without forgetting other centres" and "in the cities we have important projects", both with respect to the ongoing water shortage risk, which is paired to the smog emergency caused by emissions and by low rainfall, as well as the twin risk of flooding when the long awaited rain actually arrives. Climate change is a reality, there is a strong commitment from the government to combat hydro-geological instability. We have invested a lot of resources, 1.2 billion Euro in 2015, to be used by local authorities and Regions for interventions. Now we must spend this money properly and urgently" and "we will continue taking measures in 2016".
The COP 21 agreement
“For Italy, the real success of the historic agreement reached at COP 21 in Paris, was in the fight against hydro-geological instability, for which the government is investing resources and political credibility, but we are also creating a new environmental culture, which moves us away from a disinterested attitude to the environment, misguided wasting of land resources as well as the destruction of buildings – concluded Galleti - readjusting our cities and our habits to a new climatic situation. It is a momentous challenge that must involve everyone: from politicians to entrepreneurs, and each and every citizen”.
by Salvatore Galeone