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Italy Ambition gap

What is Italyʼs pathway to limit global warming to 1.5°C?

1.5°C compatible pathways

Unlike other large European countries (Germany, France, the UK and Spain), Italy does not have a national economy-wide emissions reduction target in addition to its contribution to the EU target. In March 2022, Italy’s Plan for the Ecological Transition (PITE) was adopted including a non-binding emissions reduction target by 2030 of 51% below the 1990 levels.1

Italy’s final national energy and climate plan (NECP) sets a 2030 reduction target for GHG emissions not covered by the EU emissions trading system (non-ETS) at 33% below 2005 levels by 2030.16 For the EU emissions trading system (ETS) sectors, we use the EU-wide target of a 43% reduction below 2005 levels to estimate Italy’s implied 2030 emissions reductions target which leads, in aggregate, to a reduction of total GHG emissions (excluding LULUCF) of 37% below 2005 levels by 2030 .13,25 The target is likely to change through the ongoing negotiations on the Fit for 55 Package at the EU-level which is redefining EU Member State targets with Italy’s revised effort sharing regulation (ESR) target raised to 43.7% below 2005 levels (as opposed to 33% previously).

Italy’s implied 2030 emissions reductions target based on its integrated national energy and climate plan (NECP) results in 30% emissions reduction below 1990 levels excluding LULUCF. The 2021 Economic and Finance Document of the Finance Ministry shows an updated projection leading to higher reduction cuts than the NECP targets, equivalent to 49% emissions reduction below 2005 levels by 2030 and 42% emissions reduction below 1990 levels by 2030.2

In contrast, Italy should reduce GHG emissions by 61-71% below 1990 levels and reach 149-201 MtCO₂e by 2030 to be in line with 1.5°C compatible pathways. Italy would need to roughly double its targeted emissions reduction (compared to those outlined in its NECP) between now and 2030 to be aligned with 1.5°C pathways.

A full fair share contribution to reduce global GHG emissions that is compatible with the Paris Agreement would require Italy to go further than its domestic emissions target, and provide substantial support for emission reductions to developing countries on top of its domestic reductions.

Long term pathway

As of June 2022, Italy has not yet submitted a long-term strategy (LTS) to the UNFCCC according to the 2020 deadline of the Paris Agreement and the 2021 G7 commitment to submit it by COP26.3 However, Italy has sent the EU Commission its long term strategy, published in 2021.4,15

To be compatible with a 1.5°C pathway, Italy would need total greenhouse gas emissions to be in the range of -26 to 46 MtCO₂e (with a middle of the range of 33 MtCO₂e/yr) by 2050, excluding the contribution of LULUCF sinks, while CO₂ emissions would need to be almost completely phased out by then.27 In some scenarios, the country would already be net-negative. Our models show negative emissions need to be achieved in the energy sector. The Italian LTS sets outs that negative emissions in 2050 would be achieved mainly through carbon sinks in the LULUCF sectors, bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and behavioural changes.

1 Government of Italy. Plan for the Ecological Transition. 2021.

2 Ministry of the Economy and Finance of the Republic of Italy. Annex to the Economics and Finance Document 2021. 2021.

3 Group of Seven. Carbis Bay G7 Summit Communiqué. GOV.UK. 2021.


5 ACEA. 2022 Progress Report – Making the transition to zero-emission mobility. 2022.

6 EEA. EEA greenhouse gas data viewer. European Environmental Agency Data Viewer 2021. (Accessed: 25th January 2021)

7 European Commission. Road transport: Reducing CO2 emissions from vehicles. 2020. Available at: (Accessed: 15th January 2020)

8 Government of Italy. Italy. 2020 National Inventory Report (NIR). (2020).

9 Instituto Superior per la Protezione e la Ricerca Ambientale. Indicators of efficiency and the decarbonization of the national energy system and the power sector. 2022.

10 European Commission. Commission Staff Working Document Impact Assessment Report. 2021.

11 Eurostat. Final energy consumption by sector – Italy. 2022.

12 International Energy Agency. Energy data and statistics. 2021. Available at: (Accessed: 2nd February 2020)

13 European Commission. COMMISSION STAFF WORKING DOCUMENT Assessment of the final national energy and climate plan of Italy. 2020.

14 Government of Italy. Executive Summary- National long-term strategies: Italy. 2021.

15 European Commission. 2050 long-term strategy. 2021. Available at: (Accessed: 18th May 2021)

16 Government of Italy. Italian Integrated National Energy and Climate Plan. 2019.

17 European Commission. Italy draft national energy and climate plan. 29–30. 2019.

18 IEA. Renewables 2021 Analysis and forecasts to 2026. 2021.

19 Reuters. Italy clinches gas deal with Algeria to temper Russian reliance. Reuters. Available at: (2022).

20 ISPRA. Italian Greenhouse Gas Inventory 1990-2019. 2021.

21 Government of Italy. Italian Greenhouse Gas Inventory 1990-2020: National Inventory Report 2022. 2022.

22 IEA. Global EV Data Explorer. IEA. 2022.

23 World Bank. GDP per capita (current LCU). The World Bank. 2021.

24 Gazzetta Ufficiale Della Repubblica Italiana. Decreto Del Presidente Del Consiglio Dei Ministri 6 Aprille 2022. Riconoscimento degli incentivi per l’acquisto di veicoli non inquinanti. 2022.

25 See assumptions here:

26 Electric or hybrid vehicles with off-vehicle charging, powered by methane and hydrogen, and electricity and methane in the case of buses.

27 While global cost-effective pathways assessed by the IPCC Special Report 1.5°C provide useful guidance for an upper-limit of emissions trajectories for developed countries, they underestimate the feasible space for such countries to reach net zero earlier. The current generation of models tend to depend strongly on land-use sinks outside of currently developed countries and include fossil fuel use well beyond the time at which these could be phased out, compared to what is understood from bottom-up approaches. The scientific teams which provide these global pathways constantly improve the technologies represented in their models – and novel CDR technologies are now being included in new studies focused on deep mitigation scenarios meeting the Paris Agreement. A wide assessment database of these new scenarios is not yet available, thus we rely on available scenarios which focus particularly on BECCS as a net-negative emission technology. Accordingly, we do not yet consider land-sector emissions (LULUCF) and other CDR approaches which developed countries will need to implement in order to counterbalance their remaining emissions and reach net zero GHG are not considered here due to data availability.


Italyʼs total GHG emissions

excl. LULUCF MtCO₂e/yr

Displayed values
Reference year
Reference year
1.5°C emissions level
Estimated 2030 target based on NECP (2019)
Ambition gap
  • 1.5°C compatible pathways
  • Middle of the 1.5°C compatible range
  • Current policy projections
  • 1.5°C emissions range
  • Historical emissions
2030 emissions levels
Current policy projections
Estimated 2030 target based on NECP (2019)
1.5°C emissions level
Ref. year 1990

Energy system transformation

Italy needs to transform its energy sector (transport, electricity generation, buildings, and industries), which is dominated by fossil fuels (81% in 2019), and accounts for 80% of the country’s emissions, excluding land use.

Given its high reliance on imports for its energy needs, Italy needs to review its energy supply strategy to shift from the use of fossil fuels, in particular fossil gas, to renewable energy. According to the IEA, Italy’s renewables capacity is projected to increase by 17 GW to 2026, with solar comprising about 75% of this increase.18 To align with 1.5°C compatible pathways, the share of unabated fossil fuels would need to decline from its current level of more than 80% by more than half by 2040 and fall to 2-22% by 2050, with some fossil gas and oil remaining in the industry and transport sectors beyond 2050. The country’s energy mix would need renewable energy to account for at least 44% by 2050. The national target of a 30% renewable energy share of primary energy by 2030 lies at the lower bound of 1.5°C pathways, which require 30-52% of primary energy from renewables by 2030. Pathways with lower reliance on renewable energy see increasing reliance on fossil fuels with CCS. 1.5°C pathways show the deployment of negative emissions technology such as BECCS, starting from 2030, and reaching up to 14% by 2050 in the primary energy mix.


Italyʼs primary energy mix

petajoule per year

SSP1 Low CDR reliance
20192030204020504 0006 000
SSP1 High CDR reliance
20192030204020504 0006 000
Low energy demand
20192030204020504 0006 000
High energy demand - Low CDR reliance
20192030204020504 0006 000
  • Renewables incl. biomass
  • Unabated fossil
  • Nuclear and/or fossil with CCS
  • Negative emissions technologies via BECCS

Italyʼs total CO₂ emissions

excl. LULUCF MtCO₂/yr

  • 1.5°C compatible pathways
  • 1.5°C emissions range
  • Middle of the 1.5°C compatible range
  • Historical emissions

1.5°C compatible emissions benchmarks

Key emissions benchmarks of Paris compatible Pathways for Italy. The 1.5°C compatible range is based on the Paris Agreement compatible pathways from the IPCC SR1.5 filtered with sustainability criteria. The median (50th percentile) to 5th percentile and middle of the range are provided here. Relative reductions are provided based on the reference year.

Reference year
Reference year
Year of net zero
incl. BECCS excl. LULUCF and novel CDR
Total GHG
Megatonnes CO₂ equivalent per year
149 to 201
37 to 99
−26 to 46
Relative to reference year in %
−71 to −61%
−93 to −81%
−105 to −91%
Total CO₂
106 to 165
7 to 67
−46 to 19
2042 to 2059
Relative to reference year in %
−76 to −62%
−98 to −85%
−111 to −96%