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Emissions in Italy - statistics & facts

As one of the leading economies in Europe, Italy is also one of the continent's major polluters. Italy was the second largest emitter of carbon dioxide in the European Union in 2020, behind only Germany. Despite this, Italy has one of the lowest greenhouse gas emissions per capita in the EU.

Greenhouse gas emissions in Italy

Italy emitted roughly 287 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere in 2020. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas and the primary contributor to climate change. Although annual CO2 emissions in Italy have seen little change in the past five years, they have dropped nearly 30 percent since 2010. Like elsewhere in the world, the energy sector contributed for 50 percent to greenhouse gas emissions in Italy. Between 2005 and 2019, energy sector emissions in Italy dropped from 476 million metric tons to 329 million metric tons. These reductions coincide with the increased use of renewable energy in the country. Since 2007, the share of electricity generated from renewable sources in Italy has more than doubled, making up approximately 34 percent in 2018. Transport sector emissions are another major contributor to Italy’s carbon footprint, though much like energy supply emissions, they have experienced a noticeable reduction in the past decades.

Air pollutants in Italy

Whilst emissions that contribute to the climate crisis are of great concern, there are other pollutants that have a more immediate impact on human health. In fact, the number of premature deaths in Italy attributable to PM2.5 particulate matterhas been over 50 thousand till 2018. In 2019 deaths totaled 49,900. This was the highest number of deaths in the EU caused by this harmful pollutant. In 2019, Italy was responsible for the most PM2.5 emissions of all EU member states. The cities with the highest concentrations of PM2.5 emissions in Italy are typically found in the north of the country, specifically in the Po Valley region. Pollution caused by sources such as traffic is intensified due to the area being surrounded by mountains. Air pollution is trapped in the valley when there is no wind, making it one of the most polluted places in Europe.


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