Ecological transition, green conversion, carbon neutrality, zero emissions. Everyone talks about it a little: heads of government, multilateral institutions, scientists and ministers. Yet, reality says that for now, the classic ocean is involved in moving from words to deeds. There is still a lot of work to be done. And, indeed, the trend seems to be the opposite of what is still hoped for.
EVEN INCREASES THE LEVEL OF CARBON DIOXIDE
In reality, carbon dioxide emissions continue to rise and are about to reach an all-time high worldwide in 2023. That’s right. The post-pandemic economic recovery is also contributing to this pejorative trend. The different countries need to restart the economy at the maximum possible speed and so the green objectives are (at least momentarily) set aside to get the car running at the maximum possible speed.
GREEN, IEA: “GOVERNMENTS PUT MONEY WHERE THE WORDS HAVE”
“Since the Covid-19 crisis broke out, many governments have talked about the importance of rebuilding better for a cleaner future, but many of them have yet to put their money where their words are,” he said in recent days. Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency (Iea). “Not only are investments in clean energy still a long way from what is needed to put the world on the right track to reach net zero emissions by mid-century, they are also not enough to prevent global emissions from reaching a new record high. “said Birol.
ONLY 2% OF THE RECOVERY FUNDS USED FOR GREEN INVESTMENTS
Very clear words that derive from the analysis of the IEA on the recovery plans of the various countries and their environmental and energy impact. The data deriving from this analysis are nothing short of negative. In fact, only 2% of the funding for the recovery of the economy from the pandemic is spent on the clean energy sector. A percentage to say the least laughable. Of the 16 trillion dollars (14 trillion euros) earmarked for recovery, the IEA says, only about 380 billion dollars have been allocated for green investments.
RECORD EMISSIONS IN 2023
Merciless numbers, which testify not only to a delay in the progress of green policies, but also to an opposite trend. If all the spending plans were to be implemented, the IEA argues, global carbon emissions would reach record levels in 2023 and continue to increase in the following years. “Governments must rapidly increase spending and political action to meet the commitments made in Paris in 2015, including the vital provision of finance by advanced economies to the developing world,” said (not surprisingly) the executive director of the Agency.
CHINA AND ESPECIALLY USA THE BIGGEST POLLUTERS IN THE WORLD
But who are the students to beat on their hands because they aren’t doing their homework? Let’s start by saying that China, the United States and Europe together account for 50 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. It is clear that the moves of Beijing, Washington and Brussels are decisive for the fate of the ecological transition. The European Union, which alone is worth 8% of world emissions, has been moving for some time with a series of plans, such as the Fit for 55, to meet environmental objectives.
ITALY ALSO ARRANCES ON GREEN INVESTMENTS
But it’s not all that easy. The Draghi government wants to spend more than 7 billion euros on new and cleaner mass transit systems and to take back old diesel buses and trains, but still faces strong resistance in this regard. Italy, as The Economist recently pointed out, is the country that, in proportion to the number of inhabitants, has the largest number of cars than any other country in the European Union. To be exact, in Italy there are 663 cars for every thousand inhabitants, compared to 574 in Germany and 482 in France. In Italy, only one out of ten trips takes place by public transport. Green Recovery Tracker, a project launched by two German NGOs to evaluate the plans of EU members, estimates that only 16% of the total amount that Italy expects from the European Commission will be used to slow climate change, the share lower than any major beneficiary.
BIDEN PUTS ON THE GREEN LESS THAN PROMISED
But as far as per capita emissions are concerned, the United States and China are far worse than Europe, in the first case with about 15 tons and in the second case with 7.6 tons. Although quantitatively, given the size of its territory and the vastness of its population, the greatest pollution comes from China. The new US president, Joe Biden, immediately made a drastic change in the environmental policy of his predecessor Donald Trump, who was also out of the Paris accords. But the initial promises have been revised downwards for now, with only a quarter of the two trillion billions of the economic stimulus package earmarked for the ecological transition.
THE (DIFFICULT) OBJECTIVES OF CHINA
In recent months, Chinese President Xi Jinping for his part announced the plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060. And in fact, China is investing heavily in renewable energy such as solar panels and electric batteries. At the same time, however, the consumption of coal shows no sign of decreasing (also due to the discourse linked to the recovery that was made previously). Same goes for India. In fact, both Asian giants claim that they have a precise goal of reducing emissions, but that at least for some time they need traditional energy sources to revive their economy.
GREEN POLICIES, NO COUNTRY IN THE WORLD HAS SUFFICIENT PARAMETERS
At the bottom of the ranking of the most virtuous countries on the use of renewable energy, in addition to the United States, there are also Saudi Arabia and Australia. While the best performances are from Sweden, United Kingdom, Denmark, Morocco, Norway and Chile. Yet no country, according to the Climate Change Performance Index, has parameters considered sufficient. The process could slow down also due to the possible failure of the Naples summit, during which it will also be necessary to try to convince China to reach an agreement that appears to be uphill.