Development. Environment, Italy is among the top 5 EU countries for green technologies

There is no contradiction between ecological transition and development: on the contrary, a “green” economy can guarantee opportunities for businesses and create jobs, while helping to reduce inequalities, especially if supported by appropriate public policies. This is one of the hypotheses derived from a study by the Enrico Fermi Research Center (Cref), which ranked Italy among the top five European countries in terms of green technological competitiveness. The research, presented at Cnel during an event organized by Cref, the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna Institute of Economics and the Inequalities and Diversity Forum, follows from the research center’s focus on green technologies in recent years. It is not only an important tool for maintaining and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but also an important opportunity for the revitalization of all economic sectors.

By studying specialization profiles and comparative advantages in patenting, it was possible to develop green technological capability, a measure of the competitiveness and green capabilities of national and regional innovation systems. Cref’s research geographically covers Europe 28+ (EU with the United Kingdom and Macedonia, Montenegro, Norway, Switzerland, Turkey) and the years 2000-2016, which are particularly important for the production of green patents in Europe. Indeed, over the years, around 30% of the world’s green innovations have been developed in Europe. In terms of the number of green patents granted in 2016, Italy is in fourth place with Spain at 4% (in 2000 it was 3%). Germany with 46% (down from 56%), followed by France with 17% (doubled from 8% in 2000) and the UK in third with 9% (up from 8% in 2000). above) is settled. On the other hand, regarding green technological opportunities, a gradual increase in the competitiveness of Southern and Eastern European countries was observed within Europe 28+ in 2016. In particular, Italy is in fifth place after Germany, England, France and Austria.

Research also shows that the relationship between income inequality and countries’ green technological capabilities is negative and significant, as higher inequality is associated with higher costs and uncertainty in the development of new technologies and capabilities. According to Andrea Roventini, an economist and lecturer at the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna Institute of Economics, the green transition could create new jobs with better wages in the electricity sector and the manufacturing industry, as well as providing growth opportunities for companies. associated with renewable energy. “Cref’s research shows that the green transformation is already an ongoing process in Italy and Europe and is not at odds with development: social and environmental justice can work together,” emphasizes Fabrizio Barca, coordinator of the Inequalities and Diversity Forum. .

In 2016, Italy’s green technology potential focused on technology-related innovations in four main macro sectors: greenhouse gas reduction in the energy sector (31%), climate change mitigation in transport (19%), construction (15%) and manufacturing. of goods (15%). Looking at the main macro-sectors, we can see that regarding energy, Italy is at the top in the number of patents granted for energy production from renewable sources (18.8%) and in the category of technologies likely to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 7%, for example, batteries and hydrogen and thermal energy storage systems, and have comparative advantages in these two areas. One of the most represented classes related to climate change mitigation in transport is road transport (16.4%), including technologies for batteries, electric and hybrid vehicles to improve climate change. they will burn. Lombardy has the highest number of green patents among regions (it was also first in 2000), followed by Piedmont, Emilia-Romagna and Veneto.

Finally, Cref’s research shows that technological change is always the result of a long and gradual process. And this green technology capability is influenced by non-green technology capability. According to experts, state policy is of great importance as a tool for realizing and developing potential opportunities. Mr. Roventini emphasized the need to implement green industrial policies for sustainable development, such as large-scale electrification of the economy, which will meet 90% of national electricity needs in 2050, and massive investments in renewable energies. According to Maria Enrica Virgillito, Professor of Economics at the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna Institute of Economics in Pisa, “we need a strong place-based policy that focuses on abandoned places that should become the object of environmental battles and green transition”.

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