Climate Change in Italy

Rocking on the Acqua alta,

(Rocking on the Acqua alta,


Italy is a high-emitting country. In 2018 it is estimated that Italy produced the equivalent of 407 Megatons of CO2 in emissions[1] . It is among the largest emitters of greenhouse gases in the European Union being the 5th largest in Europe (5.1%)[2].

  • The energy sector is the largest source of greenhouse emissions, as the primary source of energy in Italy is fossil fuels.
  • The second largest sector is transportation, even though recently the government has invested in sustainable mobility.
  • The building sector is the third largest.

Geographically, Italy is in an area identified as particularly vulnerable to climate change, despite not being as vulnerable as other parts of the world.

Cafe chairs and tables are submerged in high water in St. Mark’s Square after the water level reached a peak of 144 cm (4.70 feet),

However, it is affected in different ways by climate change such as water shortage, floods, heat waves. One of the most severe impacts is flooding, which affects most Italian cities and are mainly caused by the heavy rainfalls. One of the most significant recent floods that occurred last two years was in Venice, one of the Italian cities most affected by sea level rise and floods[3]. This phenomenon is known as “Acqua Alta”, which means high water in English, brought about in Venice by tidal events. In 2019 Venice reached the highest tide in 50 years.[4]

Contrastingly, water shortage is affecting South Italy especially. This has an impact on agriculture, with increased temperatures reducing yields and the quality of many crops. In the last few years, heat waves have become more frequent and extreme, mostly in summer. This is causing higher risks for elderly people and children, and other vulnerable people in communities[5].


Italy is a member of the European Union, which in 2019 approved the Green Deal in response to climate change. This deal provides measures ranging from cutting greenhouse gas emissions, to investing in cutting-edge research and innovation, in order to preserving Europe’s natural environment and achieve climate neutrality by 2050. Moreover, the EU aim to cut 55% of greenhouse emissions by 2030.


Italy will host the Pre-COP and the Youth Summit in 2021[6]. In this role, it will be essential for Italy to encourage youth participation in decision-making process. They can be part of developing strategies to mitigate and to adapt to climate change, and to encourage countries all over the world to set more ambitious goals and implement policies to overcome this emergency. Italy has recently developed a National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR in Italian)[7], which outlines plans to invest in the public transportation sector (one of the highest emitting sectors), in waste management and in a circular economy, with all of these strategies aiming to reach a more inclusive and fair transition.


Climate Justice For All believes in Italy undertaking a commitment as a high emitting country to listen and act in supporting those who are in the frontline of this emergency.

We believe that, as well as achieving this, there is a need to create a more inclusive and intergenerational space where everyone can be part of this change.


[1] emissions?breakBy=sector&chartType=area&end_year=2018&gases=all-ghg&regions=ITA&sectors=agriculture%2Cbunker-fuels%2Cindustrial-processes%2Cland-use-change-and-forestry%2Cwaste%2Cbuilding%2Celectricity-heat%2Cfugitive-emissions%2Cmanufacturing-construction%2Cother-fuel-combustion%2Ctransportation&source=CAIT&start_year=1990




[5] -content/uploads/2020/09/en_EXECUTIVE_SUMMARY_CMCC_climate_RISK_in_ITALY.pdf