The Municipal Energy Plans as Tools for Urban Planning in the Venice Province, Italy
In recent years, Italy's emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs) has accounted for nearly 2% of the world's emissions, and approximately 13% of the European Union's actual. In 2003, the most important GHG in Italy was carbon dioxide (CO2), contributing 85.5 % to the total national GHG emissions expressed in CO2 equivalents, followed by nitrous oxide (N2O), 7.4 % and methane (CH4), 6.1 %. The country's policies on climate change over the years have shifted from voluntary commitments by industry and individuals to obligatory GHG emissions reduction. In fact, following the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, Italy had a legally binding commitment to reduce GHGs emissions by 6.5% below 1990 levels (equal to 519.75 million tons -Mt- of C02eq.), over the period of 2008–2012 (Parliamentary Act Number. 120 of 1 June 2002, in the Official Journal of the Italian Republic Number 146 of 19 June 2001). The main sector to be included in domestic policies and subject to measures in order to reduce emissions is the energy sector, accounting for 83.7 % of total national GHG emissions, followed by industrial processes (6.9 %), agriculture (6.8 %) and waste (2.2 %).
The National Action Plan for 2003–2010 for the Reduction of GHG Emissions is based on European legislation and international agreements. However, its application suffers from significant delays, which are officially explained by the opposition of local authorities to approving industrial and infrastructural projects at the basis of these policies (Italian Third National Communication, Policy and Measures, 2002). However, in same cases, as this paper explores, the local commitment towards GHG emissions reduction has increased, as climate change has undergone increased research, and local officials have come to have a deeper understanding of the consequences of local actions on global climate change. The “Piano di Assetto del Territorio” (Plan of Territorial Management) of Martellago – a municipality located near Venice – is just one of the “virtuous” example of local initiatives to seriously tackle climate change, aiming at introducing the energy factor as a fundamental aspect of the entire urban planning and management process.
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Natural Environment and Culture in the Mediterranean Region
The Mediterranean Basin is located at the intersection of two major landmasses, Eurasia and Africa, which contributes to its cultural and high biodiversity. The greatest impacts have been deforestation, habitat fragmentation, intensive grazing and fires, and infrastructure development, especially on the coast, which have distinctly altered the landscape. In view of the valuable natural heritage there is a great need for weighing our ecological impact in order to achieve a balance between biodiversity conservation and human development and above all, how to maintain traditional rural livelihoods in a way that benefits biodiversity. This book synthesizes knowledge from many disciplines to throw some light on the unpredictability of forthcoming changes.
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