“Going Green Doesn’t Have To Mean Going Broke” Italian Ambassador on Climate Change Measures
Nassau, THE BAHAMAS – Around the world the alarm is being sounded about the impact of global warming and how man’s carbon footprint is contributing to it. In the aftermath of one of the most catastrophic hurricanes to hit The Bahamas, there is renewed urgency for climate change adaptation and resilience.
Delivering a recent presentation on “Tackling Climate Change” at University of The Bahamas’ Oakes Field Campus, Italian Ambassador His Excellency Armando Varicchio shared measures that his government and the European Union have been undertaking to address the threat and enhance sustainability. The event was hosted collaboratively by UB’s Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience Research (CCARR) Centre and the Italian Embassy.
Italy and the EU are signatories of the Paris Agreement and, within the EU framework, have endorsed the objective of climate neutrality. Through a package of policies and measures called the “European Green Deal”, the aim is to become the “world’s first climate-neutral continent” by 2050.
“Our goal is to reconcile the economy with our planet and to make it work for our people. And to transform the EU into a fair and prosperous society, with a modern, resource-efficient and competitive economy,” explained Ambassador Varicchio.
“Europe has shown that it is possible to have a growing economy, while decreasing emissions; that “going green” doesn’t have to mean “going broke”. Quite the contrary,” he added.
Ambassador Varicchio noted that Italy and The Bahamas share the conviction that this challenge can be overcome by strengthening international cooperation and keeping climate change high on the global agenda. Recently, Italy experienced its worst flooding since 1966. The Bahamas continues to grapple with the catastrophe of Hurricane Dorian.
The Ambassador touted that the EU has already agreed to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% compared to 1990, implemented a ban on single-use plastic items, set stricter emission limits for cars and vans and improved regulations to protect and manage land and forests. It is anticipated that by 2025, half of the European Investment Bank’s financing will be dedicated to Climate Action and Environmental Sustainability. This is in addition to the EU supporting specific projects of cooperation worldwide including renewable energy projects at the Anatol Rodgers High School and T. G. Glover Primary School.
“Today, we have a unique opportunity. Italy has recognized this and, in keeping the younger generations at the center of this issue, Italy became the first country to make climate change lessons compulsory for schoolchildren,” noted the Italian Ambassador. “Additionally, last November, the Italian Government decided that public schools would soon require students in all grades to study climate change and sustainability.”
Further, Italy and the United Kingdom have reached an agreement to share the Presidency of the The 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP26), United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, this year and intends to increase the focus on youth engagement.
“In this framework, Italy is working to host an important global event for youth on Climate Change. An event that will give young people the opportunity to make concrete proposals on some of the most important issues on the climate agenda, including raising awareness on the importance of attaining green goals globally, enhancing environmental education, and implementing intergenerational equity,” he added.
In his remarks, Minister of the Environment and Housing Hon. Romauld Ferreria stressed that the world is in a new paradigm as the planet gets warmer because of human activity.
“We are dealing with a threat of catastrophic proportions,” he noted, adding that in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian The Bahamas will never quite be the same. “This is a very real threat requiring urgent action.”
What has been lamented is that the poorest and most vulnerable countries suffer the effects of climate change the most, despite doing the least to cause it.
“What is the right thing to do. The right thing to do is to reduce our carbon footprint. We cannot talk about renewable energy and loosening our reliance on fossil fuels without tackling our dependence on plastics because it comes from that,” Minister Ferreria said.
The United Nations has identified global warming as the defining issue of our time.
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Chartered on 10th November 2016, University of The Bahamas (UB) is a beacon for national transformation. Approximately 5,000 students are enrolled in the University of The Bahamas system which includes campuses and centres on New Providence, Grand Bahama, San Salvador and Abaco, as well as UB online education. UB’s diverse academic programmes, research engagements, athletics and leadership development experiences equip our students to become global citizens in a dynamic world. For more information, visit www.ub.edu.bs.