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Climate change "no longer a matter of opinion": Italy PM

(2017-12-17) The dangers of climate change are no longer just a matter of opinion, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni told an environmentalist conference in Rome on Saturday.

The day-long event titled "Pact for Climate -- Together for Italy" was organized by Insieme (Together), a new coalition between the Green Party, the Italian Socialist Party, and supporters of former center-left prime minister Romano Prodi.

"The risks are no longer a matter of opinion, they are present risks," Italian news agency ANSA quoted Gentiloni as telling participants, including a number of current and former government ministers, MPs, and representatives from leading environmentalist NGOs.

"The issue of climate change must be considered as one of the central issues of our economic, strategic, and international policies," Gentiloni said.

"The fact that the United States have withdrawn from the Cop21 framework does not diminish, but rather multiplies the responsibilities of other countries," the Italian leader said.

U.S. President Donald Trump has decided to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Agreement, also known as Cop21. Trump said he wants to free domestic oil and coal industries from the constraints of the Paris deal, which went into effect in 2016.

Reliance on oil and coal is a big factor in climate change, and most of the rest of the world has agreed that converting to renewable energy is the only way to stem the deadly impact of increasing global temperatures.

Italy has a positive track record on environmentalism. A majority of voters said no to nuclear energy in a 1987 referendum. Over the past decade, all of Italy's towns and cities have chosen to go the renewable energy route, according to a report by environmentalist non-profit Legambiente.

By 2016, each of Italy's 7,978 municipalities had installed at least one source of renewable energy, up from 356 that had done so in 2005, according to the report titled Renewable Municipalities 2017.

Of those, 3,021 municipalities produce more electricity than they consume, and 40 municipalities have gone 100 percent renewable, according to Legambiente.

The 10-point Pact for Climate promoted by Insieme includes a call for a national conversion to renewable energy, sustainable agriculture and transportation, and investing in the circular economy, a model which focuses on re-using and recycling as opposed to generating waste and trash.

Source:China Daily
Date:Dec 18,2017