The past months have been crucial to defining the next steps towards a green transition, given that the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) is taking place in Glasgow from the 31st of October to the 12th of November. This major summit rallies stakeholders to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, as well as to try to push for more ambitious goals globally. While the main event is organized by the United Kingdom, Italy was in charge of putting together the PreCop26, the preparatory meeting convening environmental and climate ministries of a selected group of countries to discuss key aspects of the negotiations. Moreover, the Italian government also coordinated the Youth for Climate conference, during which the young delegates discussed major issues related to climate change and drafted a final communiquè, which was then presented to the ministries.
While these two events took place solely at Mico, the Milan convention hall, the whole city became jammed with exhibitions, roundtables, and activities focused on climate change. The whole lineup of climate events was part of the All4Climate initiative that was launched earlier this year by the Italian Ministry for Ecological Transition in partnership with the World Bank Group Connect4Climate to foster a constructive dialogue on the topic.
Within this framework, Bocconi University organized a day full of workshops on September 30th examining the issue of climate change from different perspectives. For instance, members of GREEN, the Bocconi research center that conducts studies on resources, the environment, and energy, presented the results of one of their latest reports, Urban@it, focusing on the role of cities in the green transition during the webinar “The contribution of local actors to climate policies and the sustainable development goals”. Other speakers, among whom policy officers of the European Commission and city networks, then zoomed in on the need to provide greater support to cities in their shift towards a more sustainable approach, and to better align urban resilience and recovery strategies with the national plans.
The SDA School of Management, then, hosted the panel discussion “Exploring Outer Space Solutions to Climate Change” with international experts to discuss space technologies potentialities in the fight against climate change.
However, the key event of the day was “Mind the gaps: a dialogue on sustainability, energy transition, and new competencies”, which brought together Bocconi scholars, representatives of Enel Group and of the European Commission. Here, Rector Gianmario Verona highlighted the importance of going beyond mere abstract proposals and the need to focus our attention on taking actions against global warming. Following what had been mentioned that morning by Greta Thunberg who mocked climate leaders at the Youth for Climate event by saying that “there is no planet blah blah blah. Build back better blah blah blah. This is all we hear from our so-called leaders — words, words that sound great but so far, have led to no action”, Rector Verona claimed that it is now time to “walk the talk”. Indeed, Michele Crisostomo, Chair of Enel Group, centered his intervention on the company’s concrete efforts to reach carbon neutrality by 2050 and phasing out coal by 2027 through decarbonization, electrification and increasing renewable resources’ production.
These all seem great promises, the climate issue is on top of governmental agendas, and COP26 bodes well, but let’s hope they won’t represent other instances of empty words and lofty statements.