Climate activists call on Italy to take swift action against climate change

FILE PHOTO: Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg attends a Fridays For Future protest at the Swedish Parliament (Riksdagen) in Stockholm, Sweden October 9, 2020. Jessica Gow /TT News Agency/via REUTERS

ROME (Reuters) - A group of European climate activists, including Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, on Monday urged Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte to take stronger action against climate change.

Italy, the EU’s third largest economy, will chair the 2021 G20 and will assume in partnership with Britain the presidency of the United Nations COP26 climate change conference.

“They spoke for a long time but I feel like I didn’t hear anything to our fight unfortunately,” Italian activist Martina Comparelli told reporters after a virtual meeting with the Italian prime minister and Environment Minister Sergio Costa.

“They told us that they are doing things but they are worried because people will lose their jobs,” Comparelli said, adding she was instead convinced the ecological transition would help governments increase employment.

Thunberg, who was unable to participate in the press conference, met the Italian government representatives together with fellow members of the Fridays for Future campaign group, among them German Luisa Neubauer.

Rome, which is looking to cover some 30% of its gross final energy consumption from green sources by 2030, has pledged to exit coal generated production by 2025, replacing it with more renewables and gas.

Reporting by Angelo Amante; Additional reporting by Stephen Jewkes; Editing by Alex Richardson