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Climate campaigners sue Italian government for failing to tackle climate crisis

Environment campaigners are suing the Italian government for failing to sufficiently tackle the climate crisis, in a move coinciding with World Environment Day

Climate campaigners sue Italian government for failing to tackle climate crisis
The 203 plaintiffs included environmental organisations, Italian citizens, foreign residents and activists from Italy's Fridays for Future movement. Photo: Marco Bertorello / AFP

In the first legal action of its kind in Italy, climate activists submitted a lawsuit to Rome’s civil court on Saturday denouncing government inaction on the climate crisis.

The 203 plaintiffs, which included environmental organisations, Italian citizens, foreign residents and activists from Italy’s Fridays for Future movement, are asking the court to order the State to adopt more ambitious climate policies and emission reduction targets.

READ ALSO: Italy postpones plastic tax again due to Covid-19 pandemic

After being appointed prime minister in February, Mario Draghi created a “superministry” to ensure a transition to a green energy drives recovery and makes use of European Union funds.

“Ours will be an ecological government,” Draghi said in his first cabinet meeting.

But campaigners criticised the 750-billion-euro pandemic Recovery Fund, which included the aim of Italy becoming “carbon free” by 2050, for not being ambitious enough.

In its latest decree containing economic support measures, the Decreto Sostegni bis, Draghi’s government delayed a long-planned plastic tax again citing economic pressure.

READ ALSO:  What is Italy doing about the shocking level of plastic pollution on its coastline?

The tax, which was created in 2020 and intended to promote a reduction in the production and consumption of single-use plastics, has been delayed again with the government citing economic factors connected to the pandemic.

The tax on plastic was scheduled to come into force on July 1st this year but has.faced a series of delays

The Italian governmen said it was delaying the ecological measure, “in consideration of the contingent and difficult conditions of the economic sectors, which would be burdened by the tax, in connection with the continuation of the epidemiological emergency from Covid-19”.

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CLIMATE

Central and southern Italy brace for storms and heavy snow

Storms and snowfall are forecast across much of central and southern Italy over the next few days, according to weather reports.

Snow is forecast in the hills of much of central and southern Italy.
Snow is forecast in the hills of much of central and southern Italy. Photo: Miguel MEDINA / AFP

Italy’s Civil Protection Department on Monday issued ‘orange’ alerts for bad weather along Campania’s Tyrrhenian coastline and the western part of Calabria, while Sicily, Basilicata, Lazio, Molise, Umbria, Abruzzo, central-western Sardinia, and the remaining areas of Campania and Calabria are under a lower-level ‘yellow’ weather warning.

The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts is warning Italy’s central-southern regions to prepare for a blast of polar air from the Arctic Circle that will bring heavy snowfall, rain and storms, reports national weather forecaster Il Meteo.

The village of Grotte di Castro in the province of Viterbo, two hours’ drive north of Rome, mountainous parts of Sardinia, and much of the province of Campobasso in the central-eastern region of Molise were already blanketed in snow on Monday morning.

The department is responsible for predicting, preventing and managing emergency events across the country, and uses a green, yellow, orange and red graded colour coding system for weather safety reports.

An orange alert signifies a heavy rainfall, landslide and flood risk, while a yellow alert warns of localised heavy and potentially dangerous rainfall.

The current meteorological conditions mean that snow is expected to reach unusually low altitudes of around 450-500 metres, with flakes already falling thickly on parts of the southern-central Apennines mountain range at 500-700 metres altitude.

The hills of Marche, Abruzzo, Molise, Lazio, Sardinia, Campania, Calabria and Basilicata are likely to see heavy snow around the 500m mark, while areas at an altitude of 1000m or higher will see between 50-60 cm of fresh snow.

Affected parts of the country could see 50-60cm of snowfall.

Affected parts of the country could see 50-60cm of snowfall. Photo: Vincenzo PINTO /AFP

In areas where the snow is unlikely to reach, heavy rains and thunderstorms are anticipated, with rain forecast throughout Sardinia, Campania, Calabria and Lazio, reports Il Meteo.

Strong winds are forecast over the whole country, with the island regions of Sicily and Sardinia facing windspeeds of over 100km/hour and the risk of storm surges, according to the national newspaper La Repubblica.

READ ALSO: Climate crisis: The Italian cities worst affected by flooding and heatwaves

The north of the country, meanwhile, will see sun but low temperatures of below 0°C at night in many areas, including across much of the Po Valley.

While conditions are expected to stabilise on Tuesday, cold currents from Northern Europe are forecast to trigger another wave of bad weather on Wednesday and Thursday, with Sardinia and Italy’s western coastline again at risk of storms and heavy rainfall that will move up towards Lombardy, Emilia Romagna and Veneto in the north.

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