Italy says it plans to cut carbon emissions by 60% by 2030

MILAN (Reuters) - Italy plans to cut its carbon emissions by around 60% by 2030 after using 80 billion euros ($96 billion) of EU funds for energy transition in the next five years, Ecology Minister Roberto Cingolani said.

FILE PHOTO: Seagulls fly in front of chimneys billowing smoke from rooftops amidst dense fog and smog in Milan, Italy, January 8, 2020. REUTERS/Flavio Lo Scalzo

In a phone conversation with U.S. climate envoy John Kerry on Wednesday, Cingolani called the emission reduction plan “a massive improvement”.

The EU recently set an emissions-reduction target of 55% by 2030, while in its last national energy plan, released in December 2019, Italy set itself a target of a 33% reduction by the same year.

Climate policies are at the heart of the agenda in Brussels, which wants to reach “net zero” emissions by 2050.

In December EU leaders agreed to cut their net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% from 1990 levels by 2030, substantially toughening an existing 40% target.

Prime Minister Mario Draghi has put climate change at the heart of his plans by creating a new energy transition ministry in charge of the country’s green agenda.

“We plan to install 40 gigawatt hours of renewable energy in the country to accelerate decarbonisation by 2050,” Cingolani told Kerry.

The minister said a key focus was on cutting red tape to allow energy projects to be authorised quicker.

Many companies, including power giant Enel and grid operator Terna, have complained that an overly complicated permission process is holding back progress.

“If you can change any bureaucracy you’ll be my hero,” Kerry told him.

Reporting by Stephen Jewkes; Editing by Hugh Lawson