Green transition: with European structural funds the Italian regions cut 41 million tons of CO2

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Investing in infrastructure is also good for the environment. Thanks to the green projects financed by the European Regional Development Fund of the 2014-2020 programming, over 41 million tonnes of equivalent CO2 emissions have been saved. Translated, as if 350 flights from Milan to Rome had been avoided. And better yet, up to four times as much is expected in the coming years.
While the expenses of the 2014-2020 European structural funds are being finalized, with many projects completed at the end of 2023, the map emerges from the Enea analysis within the Espa project (Energy and sustainability in public administration) reworked by the Sole 24 Ore of an Italy that has not only managed to spend, but where it has done so from a long-term perspective has also achieved green objectives. With all the Italian regions making steps forward.

For Abruzzo and Molise it is an earthquake effect

The record for economic efficiency goes to Molise: for every euro spent, 11.57 kg of CO2 equivalent were saved. The earthquake effect is making itself felt. The new, more modern and ecological buildings largely explain the better performance, together with the interventions rescheduled for the pandemic emergency. An effect that was certainly not hoped for, but which leaves a legacy in terms of sustainability. An eloquent example of how much our homes influence the green transformation process.



Sardinia the greenest region

If Molise and Abruzzo have the primacy in terms of the relationship between investments and results, looking only at the emissions saved it is obvious Sardiniawhich for every euro spent saved 8.21 kg of CO2 equivalent.

But in total with the investments of ERDF funds 2014-2020 took home emissions savings of 7,999 CO2 equivalent, equal to the emissions of 68 flights from Milan to Rome. And if we add the five regions with the greatest CO2 savings in terms of economic efficiency, namely Lombardy (-1,736 CO2 with an index of 2.94 kg of CO2 equivalent saved per euro spent), Piedmont (-2965; 4.40 per euro), Sardinia (-7999; 8.21 per euro), Liguria (-1340; 5.35 per euro spent) and Lazio (-2737; 3.74 per euro), we left 143 planes on the ground.

«A sign that where the infrastructure already exists, new investments make it possible to accelerate the transition», explains Cecilia Camporeale, researcher in the Enea Sustainability Department. An example above all: if Milan already has a network of charging stations and purchases electric buses, the environmental result is immediate. However, where the infrastructure must first be created, it will take a few years to see the results.

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