Italy Seeks Ways to Ease Pain of Green Transition, Minister Says

Italy is studying an array of incentives to cushion the blow to citizens and businesses as the country looks to execute a rapid shift to a green economy.

“Everybody knows that the transition is very urgent but everybody knows that the transition won’t be painless, and this will require a lot of effort, economical effort and even at the behavioral level,” Ecological Transition Minister Roberto Cingolani said in an interview on Bloomberg TV on Monday. “People ought to change the way they move, they produce, they buy goods.”

Cingolani, a physicist who made his mark in applied research and then in the private sector, was drafted in by Prime Minister Mario Draghi to oversee the overhaul of Italy’s economy for a low-emission future while spurring investment and ensuring its competitiveness in key sectors like cars.

He is betting that incentives, backed in part by the more than 200 billion euros ($235 billion) that Italy will receive from the European Union for post-pandemic reconstruction, will speed up the transition and reduce opposition among voters.

“We are analyzing the possibility of introducing some mitigating rule for the cost of electricity,” Cingolani said. “We know where to go in the long term but in the mid term we really have to face difficulties.”

The government is also developing massive programs to improve the energy efficiency of private and public buildings, and to encourage Italians to replace some 13 million older, highly polluting cars.

Cingolani also expressed support for the project to set a floor for global carbon pricing, just as the EU is planning to introduce a tax on carbon emissions of imports into the bloc. He also vowed to raise Italy’s contribution to help developing countries reduce their emissions.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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