Italian flag at the forefront of climate neutrality

Italian flag at the forefront of climate neutrality

The investment in research infrastructure amounts to €150 million, which will be used to monitor and deal with greenhouse gas emissions over the next two and a half years. As Italy launches its plan that is among the most advanced in Europe, the Italian scientific community faces the latest results and the most advanced challenges of research into greenhouse gas measurements.

About 70 studies were presented, more than 50 research institutions were represented and more than 150 participants were represented including representatives from the corporate world, the energy sector and start-ups: ICOS Italia (Integrated Carbon Monitoring System) opens its first conference by bringing together the entire Italian community at CNR whose work revolves around the collection and interpretation of data on greenhouse gas emissions and uptake by ecosystems.

The first national conference of ICOS Italy showcased the availability of 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 Carusa, Fabio Trincardi, Director of the Department 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, also confirmed by ICOS studies on emissions in cities“- notice Carlo Calvapetra Contact point at ICOS Italia and director of the Institute for Research on Terrestrial Ecosystems at CNR “- Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration continues to grow at values ​​now exceeding 420 parts per million, and increasingly frequent extreme weather events threaten the role of ecosystem 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.“.

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It is also for this reason that Italy, unique in Europe, will invest 150 million euros in the next 30 months to strengthen the Italian infrastructures for environmental research thanks to a project coordinated by the CNR and funded under the framework of the PNRR.– commented Dario BabaliProfessor at the University of Tuscia and director of the ICOS Thematic Center for Ecosystems.

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).


The ICOS Italia network consists of 17 stations, 10 of which are for ecosystems, 4 for the oceans and 3 for the atmosphere. Furthermore, ICOS Italia also coordinates the Ecosystem Thematic Center (ETC) which is also hosted and supported by ICOS Belgium and France.

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The stations dedicated to ecosystems cover the most typical areas of Italy: different types of forests, cultivated fields and shrubs, as well as a new urban site in Florence. Atmospheric stations are located in northern Italy, in the Alps and northern Apennines, and on the island of Lampedusa, in the Mediterranean. Stations observing the ocean are located in the Adriatic Sea, the Sicily Channel, and the Ligurian Sea.

ICOS Italia is coordinated by the Joint Research Unit (JRU), which emerged from the cooperation of 15 Italian entities, including universities, research institutes and other entities:

National Research Council (CNR), Euro-Mediterranean Climate Change Center (CMCC), University of Tocia, Council for Agricultural Research and Agricultural Economics Analysis (CREA), National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (ENEA), Regional Environmental Protection Agency (ARPA) for the Aosta Valley, Autonomous Province of Bolzano, Edmund Mach Foundation (FEM), University of Sassari, University of Padua Studies, University of Genoa, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, National Institute of the Sacred Heart Experimental Oceanography and Geophysics (OGS), Free University of Buzzin Bolzano, University of Udine, Research in System Energy – RSE SpA

ICOS Research Infrastructure

Founded in 2008, ICOS RI is a European research infrastructure that aims to provide accessible, free and high-quality data to improve our understanding of greenhouse gas emissions and removals. The infrastructure consists of several networks of stations distributed in 13 countries, with a total of more than 150 stations and the participation of hundreds of scientists and researchers.

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