Climate, Parliament must immediately approve the Plan to adapt to changes

Climate, Parliament must immediately approve the Plan to adapt to changes


Among the many unknowns for the new government, there are some certainties: one of these is that the extreme climatic events caused by the climate crisis will not stop, and will continue to affect the whole of Italy. And that to limit the devastating impacts similar for example to what has recently been seen in the Marche, something must be done: well and soon. In short, it takes a plan. In reality we already have it: it is the National Plan for Adaptation to Climate Change (PNACC) and it has been ready for 5 years.

Except that since 2017 it has been subjected to exams after exams, waiting to be definitively approved. So much so that it is almost dated, given that it was based on the IPCC report number five: in 2021 the sixth was released, so "clearly, having passed 5 years from the first draft to date, an update and the deepening of some aspects are certainly desirable, as is done periodically for documents of this type ”, explains Donatella Spano, professor at the University of Sassari and strategic advisor of the Euro-Mediterranean Center Foundation on climate change (CMCC) to Cmcc itself took care of the scientific coordination in the drafting of the Plan: a tool that has been adopted practically by all the major European countries. So here is a reminder for the new parliamentarians on what the PNACC is and why it should be approved as soon as possible.

What is the Pnacc What the Pnacc contains Why has it stopped Why we need the Pnacc soon

What is the Pnacc

The National Climate Change Adaptation Plan is the planning tool main to address climate emergencies (which are no longer so unexpected). Commissioned in 2016 by the Directorate General for Climate and Energy of the Ministry of the Environment (a role that today belongs to the Ministry of Ecological Transition), the PNACC was developed with the technical and scientific support of Cmacc and numerous national research bodies (universities, Ispra, etc.). Spano explains:

"The aim of the plan was to make the reference framework on adaptation at national level functional for the purpose of planning adaptation actions to the different levels of government of the territory and in the various sectors of intervention"

This document follows the work on climate adaptation initiated by the same ministry in 2012 and concluded in the creation of the National Strategy for Adaptation to Climate Change (Snac), approved by decree in 2015. The strategy provided for the implementation of the Pnacc. And as rarely happens in Italy, for once such a massive and sensitive planning document was composed quickly and with great participation: the final draft shared with the research bodies, with the other ministries competent on the issues dealt with and with the Regions. . Two public consultations have even been held in the meantime.

In short, the text was ripe for rapid approval: perhaps too much. In fact, it is based on the fifth report of the IPCC (the scientific forum of the United Nations and the most authoritative voice in the world on global warming). Published in 2014, the report has been updated today and therefore superseded by the sixth report, made public in 2022. Nothing serious: updating the PNACC is feasible and quickly. The important thing is to have it as soon as possible. If nothing else, because almost all of our European neighbors have done so: just to name the main ones, Portugal, Spain, France, Germany, Austria, Croatia, Holland.

In dark blue all the European nations that have approved your PNACC - Graph taken from the Climate Adapt website (European Commission - European Environment Agency)

What the PNACC contains

The approximately 400 pages of the Plan describe "a common database, information and analysis methodologies ”as Spano explains.

"The Plan was configured as a guiding tool for institutions at all levels of government of the territory for the purpose of integrating the theme of adaptation into the programming and sectoral planning tools, mostly under the responsibility of regional ”

In particular, the PNACC identifies four objectives: to contain the vulnerability of natural, social and economic systems to the impacts of climate change; increase their ability to adapt; improve the exploitation of any opportunities; favor the coordination of actions at different levels of governance.

Specifically, as the advisor of Cmcc explains, the PNACC identifies 6 climate macro-regions in Italy and creates two different climate projections (the intermediate scenario and the more extreme one ) based on the estimates of the fifth IPCC report. The plan also goes into detail, up to an analysis of the province by province and of the risks for the 18 sectors already identified by the SNAC. "The Plan also proposes a monitoring system for effective actions at a local scale and the establishment of a control room for monitoring the Plan itself, in order to ensure central control that guarantees the standardization of information, homogeneity of approaches and support for territories for the implementation of adaptation actions ”, says Spano.

Why it stopped

But then why a tool that in these five years, just to give a few examples, could be useful to prepare more effectively to face the Vaia storm (Trentino, 2018 ), the floods in Liguria (2019) or in Piedmont and Sardinia (2020) or even those of last September between Marche and Umbria? The usual damned bureaucracy.

On renewables, parties have many ideas, but not always very clear And no one explains how to finance them specifically. The programs of the center left are rich, the right is less strong. The 5 Star Movement is limited to a few points In short, although the detailed process was longer and more complex, the State-Regions Conference decided in 2018 to submit the Pancc to the Strategic Environmental Assessment (Vas). From there, we came to the opinion of the Vas subcommittee, Technical Commission for Environmental Impact Assessment - Via e Vas of May 2021. What did it decide? “To suggest a series of in-depth analyzes and additions to which the PNACC is currently subjected in order to be approved”, explains Spano. And to think that the PNACC had foreseen actions with the aim of improving very useful parameters to increase the resilience of the territories: "The knowledge of the geological and hydraulic criticalities of the territory and the risks associated with them, improve the models for the simulation and prediction of impacts on different time horizons, improve the monitoring of the territory for the production of updated databases, improve the management of emergencies by the administrations at all levels and increase the participation of the population, improve the management and maintenance of the territory, improve the knowledge of the state of the buildings and infrastructures to increase their resilience. "In short, many important actions to better manage the impact of the extreme weather events that have hit Italy in the last five years. Nobody doubts the usefulness of the technical checks but if only to give some examples Spain adopted its National Climate Change Adaptation Plan in 2020 and France in 2017, it is a shame to be almost 2023 and have lost a luster.

Why we need the Pnacc

This is explained by Cmcc itself in the 2020 report Risk analysis - Climate change in Italy: the probability of risk from extreme climatic events has increased in Italy by 9% in the last twenty years. Today about 90% of Italian municipalities are at risk from landslides and floods, and over seven million Italians live or work in areas considered "highly dangerous". Unfortunately, as often happens, the South is worse off than the North.

A (left) is the ISTAT Social Vulnerability Index (SVI) and B (right) the Disaster Resilience Index ( DRI). In red the values ​​of high social vulnerability and low resilience to disasters, in green, vice versa, low social vulnerability and high resilience - Source: CMCC

It is not only the data that clearly show us the damage caused by the climate changes. It is the empirical survey of the present: in one expression, it is everyday news. It is clear to everyone how the climate has changed in Italy and how the melting of glaciers, phenomena of hydrogeological instability triggered by floods and landslides, heat waves across the threshold and other similar causes have become serious threats. And if once we could complain about the long-standing lack of economic resources, today we have another acronym, made up of four letters, which comes to our aid.

"Surely the funds of the NRP can be an excellent an opportunity to finance adaptation policies, integrating them with disaster risk reduction policies - explains Spano -. Some indicators of monitoring and spending of NRP projects are based on the percentage of resources used for actions to combat climate change ”

As if to say that the National Recovery and Resilience Plan is expressly dedicated to these issues as well. Spano continues: "The real challenge for the future is to integrate the issue into the normal items of public policy expenditure (mainstreaming) in order to have climate-proof public action".

Climate change has aggravated infectious diseases From common waterborne viruses to deadly plagues such as plague, out of 375 diseases analyzed by researchers 218 have worsened In the report Climate change, infrastructure and mobility of the Ministry of Infrastructure and of sustainable mobility presented last February, it is estimated that "the resources to be invested in adaptation are 8-10 billion until 2030: about one billion per year, plus an annual operating and maintenance cost of 604 million euros in the business scenario as usual. "The report suggests investing in adaptation to climate change because the estimated damage related to infrastructure is around 2.3-8.7 billion euros (between 2020 and 2030). In 2050, the loss would reach a figure between 11.5 and 18 billion euros. For this reason, the ministry says, one euro spent on climate resilience of infrastructures will produce overall benefits equal to almost the five euros in 2050.

If the choice between policies to boost renewable energy still appears as a political issue - although it shouldn't be - the protection of the inhabitants of the boot is one of the absolute and shared priorities of public intervention. One of the founding reasons of the state-citizen pact. Today we have the economic resources and a tool to direct them towards the development of the resilience of the territory. There are so many things to do and several new emergencies. But among the first actions the new parliament, pushed by the next Meloni government, should deal with the approval of the PNACC. A decision that could hardly meet the brakes of the opposition: it would only be an action that confirms that the damage caused by climate change is now a matter of national security. And for this very reason, priority.

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