According to the
European Environment Agency (EEA) in 2012, deaths from air pollution in Italy amounted
to 84,400 (eighty-four thousand and four hundred) out of a total of 491,000
(four hundred ninety-one thousand) in the European Union.
Of these 84,400 deaths, 59,500 are attributed
to micro-fine particles (also knows as particulate matter), 21,600 to nitrogen
dioxide (NO2) and 3,300 to ozone (O3).The common
matrix however is the emissions from fossil fuels.
Literally, AN HECATOMB!
tragedies together with the enormous economic damage that pollution
weather events due to global warming (hurricanes, floods, droughts, etc.)
create every year are increasing consistently.
Yet, there are
technologies to fundamentally solve the problem, that will allow
TO ELIMINATE FOSSIL FUELS
With its temperate
climate and abundance of sunshine, Italy could stop using fossil fuels almost
entirely in 20 years (and completely in 30 years).
It would be enough
to act in three directions:
- Energy saving
and efficiency: imposed with binding rules and backed by a strong commitment to
of the economy, including transport and cooling of buildings.
- Power generation
for the most part from renewable sources and a small part from natural gas.
In 20 years - zero
carbon, zero oil, and very little natural gas,
AND TENS OF THOUSANDS OF LIVES SAVED EACH YEAR
Certainly, in the
short term, this requires significant effort, also economic, of conversion, but
the return is quickly and it is immense. Not to mention the cost in human
How much are 84,400 deaths per year
Obviously in a
ruthless battle against traditional fossil fuel, energy companies lose out and
their lobbies will continue to influence political choices to slow the
de-carbonization of the economy - and so far they have been successful: the
private interests of a small minority have prevailed over the interests of the
But this cannot last,
if it causes the deaths of tens of thousands of people each year.
To deal with the recent
difficulties encountered just this last December in Italy, as it was stifled by
smog, one can take immediate action to reduce the problem quickly (and to avoid
repeating the same situation next year):
To require that all public
transport by road (including taxis) are powered by natural gas or are hybrid
within a year.
To impose companies that have fule
distribution points to be also equipped, within a year, in at least one in
three of their points of distribution, to provide natural gas and LPG. The
spread of CNG cars is low because of the lack of refuelling points. (Yet with
the same model, a CNG car practically does not emit particulates, emits 70%
less NOx, 30% less CO2 and costs half as much in fuel needs). Once more the oil companies lose out and the
To encourage the scrapping of
older and polluting vehicles and to replace them with CNG vehicles or hybrid or
electric, or with low emissions vehicles.
To speed up the insulation of
buildings, both with binding rules as with incentives. In the
medium term, to continue:
To invest heavily in public
transportation, especially the subway, in the big cities.
To invest heavily in suburban
rail transport, rather than on highways.
To investing in
"highways" of the sea (transport by ship) to transport goods
To impose binding rules on the
thermal insulation of buildings, LED lighting, environmentally friendly
appliances, and so on.
And obviously to restart
renewables (hindered in any way by the past cabinets), both with a strong
bureaucratic simplification and with the restoration of incentives, moderate
and decreasing for another ten years.
To establish programmes of environmental education, from elementary
school to university, and with large information campaigns on newspapers,
All this obviously
has an important economic cost in the short term (although the economic return
is huge in the medium term). But again, it is necessary that politicians at all
levels and the public ask themselves: