November 29, 2022

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1st National ICOS Conference: Italian science at the forefront of the path to climate neutrality

About 70 studies were presented, more than 50 research institutions were represented by more than 150 participants including representatives from the corporate world, the energy sector and start-ups: at its first national conference held in Rome on September 27-28, ICOS Italy (integrated carbon monitoring system) At CNR, the entire Italian community whose work revolves around the collection and interpretation of data on greenhouse gas emissions and uptake by ecosystems has been collected. The ICOS network (17 stations plus the Ecosystem Thematic Center) provided a broad and interdisciplinary comparison that highlighted the knowledge, opportunities and challenges ahead for the role of research in this field at the national and international levels.

In particular, it is clear from the works that there are many areas and topics that are affected by the study and data related to the carbon cycle: urban environment, agricultural environment, terrestrial and marine natural ecosystems, added to these the crucial role of activities and human resources and with them the involvement of many economic sectors, such as Agriculture mentioned above, but also the energy and transportation sector to name a few but the most visible sectors.

The conference is entitled eloquently “Carbon Neutrality Target: Role, Status and Perspectives of Environmental Observations”It was opened by the interventions of the President of the National Research Council Maria Chiara CarosaAnd the Fabio Trincardidirector of the Division of Earth System Environmental Science and Technology (DSSTTA) at CNR e Carlo Calvapetrathe focal point of ICOS Italy and director of the Institute for Research on Terrestrial Ecosystems of the National Research Committee.

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The three main speakers then drew the context, between political science and society, for the conference topic.

Riccardo Valentini (Professor at the University of Tocia, member of the Euro-Mediterranean Center for Climate Change – CMCC, President of the Italian Society for Climatology – SISC) explained the topic in light of the contents of the last assessment report on climate change in the United Arab Emirates. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Giacomo Grassi Then the JRC (Joint Research Center of the European Commission) outlined the state of the art research on a specific topic for measurements and next steps, and methodological and research developments that will be critical to further improving the quality and timeliness of data. In the end, Gelsomina Pappalardo (National Research Council, Institute for Environmental Analysis Methodologies) highlighted the importance of environmental research infrastructures in Europe and the growing and valuable role that Italy plays in this network.

“The 5% reduction in anthropogenic emissions observed in 2020 due to COVID has already been recovered in one year, as also confirmed by ICOS studies on emissions in the city,” he notes. Carlo Calvapetra The focal point of ICOS Italia and Director of the Institute for Research on Terrestrial Ecosystems at CNR “The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere continues to grow with values ​​now exceeding 420 parts per million and extreme weather events, which are becoming more and more frequent, also jeopardize the role of ecosystems reservoirs. Fortunately, we are intervening in our cities by increasing tree heritage in 14 metropolitan cities and in a series of other initiatives also with special contributions that will contribute to the ambitious goal of carbon neutrality for 2050.” “That’s why too Italy, unique in Europe, will invest 150 million euros in the next 30 months to strengthen Italy’s infrastructure for environmental research thanks to a project coordinated by the National Committee for Scientific Research and funded under the National Domain Name Registry (PNRR).comment Dario BabaliProfessor at the University of Tuscia and director of the ICOS Thematic Center for Ecosystems.

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The second day of the conference witnessed researchers and company representatives discussing and presenting the latest technologies in the field of environmental monitoring and greenhouse gases. A growing community, multidisciplinary and distributed over the national territory, open to Europe and the world in search of answers to a problem that can only be addressed on a global scale but also has a strong regional, national and local dimension. Open and completely free access to high-quality data stimulates the use of ICOS metrics by different scientific communities, underlining the importance of European research infrastructures. In this context, Italy plays a central role in the ICOS and in Europe, thanks to the investment in several measurement sites (such as the Florence site, which has just been added to the network, which will allow the monitoring of the city’s emissions produced by human activities) and on one of the thematic centers The European Four (Ecosystem Thematic Centre). Moreover, with the island of Lampedusa, Italy has the only location of the ICOS network covering all components (atmosphere, oceans and ecosystems).