This article originally appeared in
Volume 28 Number 4
Wednesday, February 23, 2003   
                                                          Page 102  
ISSN 1522-4090

Climate Change
Italian Finance Minister Says Compliance
With Kyoto Will Be Costly, Have Few Benefits

    ROME -- Complying with emission reduction targets set out in the Kyoto Protocol will cost Italy [Euros]3 billion
    (US$3.9 billion), according to estimates released on Feb. 11 by Italy's Finance Ministry, which also said the
    country will receive little in return for the investment.

    In Italy's latest comments criticizing the international climate change treaty, Finance Minister Domenico
    Siniscalco told Parliament that Italy would not be able to meet its Kyoto targets without a "great struggle."

    Siniscalco also said that despite all the activity related to the protocol's entry into force Feb. 16, there was
    inadequate evidence to prove that it would be effective in slowing climate change, and he expressed doubt as to
    whether the treaty would be legally binding.

    "On the one hand the targets are probably insufficient to reverse the climate trend, but from a purely quantitative
    point of view they are very ambitious," Siniscalco said, according to statements released by his office Feb. 15.
    "In any case, I am convinced that the Kyoto Protocol's coming into force is not really a law but a process, a
    direction in which we are walking."

    Italian government agencies and officials have issued a series of similarly critical statements concerning the
    Kyoto Protocol to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which officially took effect Feb. 16.

    In December, Environment Minister Altero Matteoli said Italy could withdraw from the pact after 2012 if countries
    like the United States, China, and India do not agree to reduce emissions (28 INER 9, 01/12/05  ).

    13 Percent Over Target

    Under the European Union's burden sharing agreement for implementing the Kyoto Protocol, Italy must reduce
    its greenhouse gas emissions by 6.5 percent from 1990 levels by the end of the period 2008-2012.
    According to government figures, however, Italy's emissions rose 6.7 percent from 1990 levels by the end of

    "Unless the Kyoto protocol is renegotiated, Italy will reach its targets only by using all of the flexible
    mechanisms allowed by the rules," Siniscalco said.

    The Kyoto pact's "flexible mechanisms" include in the Clean Development Mechanism and the Joint
    Implementation provisions, which allow countries to acquire credits toward meeting reduction targets from
    other nations.

    Siniscalco said emission reductions would cost Italy about [Euros]5.50 (US$7.15) per metric ton.

    "The foreseen costs are not simply costs for the Italian Treasury but for every Italian and the entire Italian
    system," Siniscalco said.

    By Eric J. Lyman

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