PNRR: what it provides and why it is not enough for a green revolution

The PNRR that the Government will transmit to Brussels is a step forward but according to environmental associations it is not enough to bring about a true ecological transition

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© Bruno Scramgnon

Improve the sustainability and resilience of the economic system by ensuring a just and inclusive transition. This is one of the six macro targets of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR), the investment program that Italy will present to the European Commission as part of the Next Generation EU. The government sent the final text to the Chambers, with the aim of sending it to Brussels later this week.

Despite the statements of the Prime Minister, Mario Draghi, according to which “one of the missions of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan is expressly dedicated to the” green revolution “, the text of the PNRR does not fully satisfy the environmental associations that cry out loud: yes could do more.

For the so-called ecological transition, the Government plans to invest a total of 68.6 billion – 59.3 billion from the Resilience and Recovery Device and 9.3 billion from the Complementary Fund – of the 222.1 billion estimated on the entire operation.

“The PNRR is part of a broader and more ambitious strategy for the modernization of the country. The Government intends to update the national strategies in terms of development and sustainable mobility, environment and climate, hydrogen, automotive and health supply chains ”, underlined the Premier.

PNRR: what the green transition entails

In detail, the National Recovery and Resilience Plan provides for investments and reforms for the circular economy in order to achieve new and ambitious goals. Which? 55% recycling of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE); 85% of recycling in the paper and cardboard industry; 65% recycling of plastic waste (through mechanical and chemical recycling, “Plastic Hubs”); 100% recovery in the textile sector through “Textile Hubs”. In this field, the Government is ready to improve the urban waste separate collection network and to create new treatment / recycling plants, especially in the municipalities of Central-Southern Italy.

In addition, a monitoring system will be developed throughout the national territory that will make it possible to address issues of “illegal discharges” through the use of satellites, drones and Artificial Intelligence technologies. And by June 2020, Italy will adopt the new national strategy for the circular economy.

The plan provides for major investments in renewable sources, simplifying the authorization procedures in the sector. The intervention line has the objective of enhancing production capacity with new 6 GW, improving the resilience of the electricity grid and digitizing the energy transmission and distribution infrastructures. The investments will also support the construction of off-shore energy generation systems (200 MW), which combine technologies with a high development potential with more experimental technologies (eg wave motion plants), in innovative structures integrated with storage systems.

Hydrogen will play a leading role, through flagship projects for the use of the vector in the hard-to-abate industrial sectors and through the creation of “hydrogen valleys”. In addition, the National Recovery and Resilience Plan allocates resources for the renewal of local public transport, with the purchase of low-emission buses, and for the renewal of part of the fleet of trains for regional transport with alternative propulsion vehicles.

The third line of action provides fiscal incentives to increase the energy efficiency of private and public buildings, together with the extension of the 110% super bonus to 2023. Space obviously also for water infrastructures, with the aim of reducing losses in the water networks. drinking water by 15%, and the reduction of hydrogeological instability.

The reactions of environmental associations

Among the first to make its voice heard, Legambiente asked to “realize the ecological transition starting from the territories and those ten flagship works that can project Italy towards a more sustainable and green 2030”.

“From the new Executive led by Mario Draghi we expect courageous and radical choices on the projects to be financed, focusing only on clean technologies for the production of renewable energy, on green hydrogen, on circular economy plants, on zero-emission mobility in the city and on extra-urban routes, on urban regeneration, on agroecology, on sustainable tourism and on protected areas – declared Stefano Ciafani, national president of Legambiente – Only in this way can the ecological transition we have been talking about for years be realized and truly project the Italy to 2030 making it greener, cleaner and more inclusive, giving concrete answers to citizens and young people who continue to strike for the climate ”.

For the WWF, “the PNRR transmitted to the Chambers is a significant step but not enough for a green revolution that needs a further boost on energy, biodiversity, the territory, the circular economy and organic agriculture”. For this reason, the association “asks the Government to also use a significant share, at least 10.6 billion euros of the 30 of the complementary programming to the PNRR, to try to overcome some limits and integrate and strengthen the contents of the Plan in the choices for the revolution. green and the ecological transition in fields such as the conservation of biodiversity, renewable energies and the fight against climate change, the protection of the territory, the circular economy and organic agriculture “.

Greenpeace, on the other hand, yesterday organized a sit-in and talked about «a half green turn. With a space that is really too small for a serious public debate and without the project files from which one could understand more, the PNRR presents some important innovations but still different limits ».

According to the environmental association, among the positive notes of the Pnrr signed by Draghi there is the mention of technologies for offshore renewable sources but there is no turning point on the circular economy, measures for the reduction of waste production and the necessary innovation are absent to reduce the use of disposable products especially for plastics. Furthermore, there is no precise reference to the development of ecological and organic agriculture, nor to a goal of reducing the number of animals raised by shifting CAP resources to agroecological productions.

FederBio also calls for “the definition of national strategies for organic farming and the implementation of the agroecological transition in national action plans”.

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