Italy’s climate plan lacks financial strategy, think-tank warns

MILAN, July 21 (Reuters) – Italy needs to invest 118 billion euros ($131 billion) annually to decarbonise its economy but lacks the financial strategy to attract funds from private investors and to allocate money to specific measures, climate change think-tank ECCO said.

In its energy and climate plan sent to Brussels this week, the government forecast total investments worth 830 billion euros in the period 2023-2030 to help phase out fossil fuels, increase the use of renewable energy and cut carbon emissions.

“The document lacks details on how much money will come from the state coffers, how to draw private investments and which incentives and tax breaks could be used,” ECCO said in a report.

Italy needs a strategy to mobilise substantial private financial resources to accompany public funds made available by the European Commission through its Recovery and Resilience Facility (RFF) and REPowerEU schemes, the Rome-based think-tank said.

Italy is due to receive 191.5 billion euros in grants and cheap loans through 2026 from the EU’s RRF in what is seen as a once-in-a-generation opportunity to revitalize a sluggish economy.

However, bureaucratic incompetence and a lack of expertise at managing such projects are making it increasingly difficult for the country to make use of the EU funds over time.

ECCO also called on the government to be more ambitious in the roll-out of renewable energy sources, in the phase out of natural gas and coal and in shifting to electric cars.

The energy ministry, which recently defended the plan against criticism over its emissions target, declined to comment on ECCO’s report.

Italy will now hold talks with the European Commission on the plan aimed at reaching a binding version by June 2024.

($1 = 0.8988 euros)

Reporting by Francesca Landini and Giuseppe Fonte Editing by Keith Weir

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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