Italy making climate change studies compulsory at schools

Flames from a backfire consume a hillside as firefighters battle the Maria Fire in Santa Paula California

Italy is to become the first country to make climate change lessons compulsory in schools, Education Minister Lorenzo Fioramonti announced.

Fioramonti said all state schools would dedicate 33 hours per year, nearly one hour per school week, to climate change issues from the start of the next academic year in September.

A panel of worldwide scientific experts is reportedly advising Italy's environment ministry on how to redevelop the national curriculum with regard to climate change and sustainability.

Fioramonti, 42, the writer of a few books contending total national output should never again be utilized as the fundamental proportion of nations' financial achievement, has been an objective of the conservative resistance since turning into a priest in the two-month-old administration of 5-Star and the middle left Democratic Party. He said the ministry will be ready to train teachers by January.

US President Donald Trump has described global warming as "a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese". "We are turning on our heaters".

With this example, the minister of Education has pointed out that in seeking to fight this kind of "nonsense", teaching children that "this is the most important challenge that humanity has faced".

He drew criticism in September this year for encouraging students to miss class and attend the Fridays for Future climate protests. He said that the conditions had not been right to go forward with the new curriculum then, but that they were now.

The government's announcement was welcomed by green campaigners, but some Italians voiced concerns that an emphasis on environmental issues could damage the country's fragile economy.

This month, Italy faced a new economic emergency when the foreign operator of a southern Italian steel plant, Ilva, said it would pull out because the 5-Star-led government had made a decision to end criminal immunity for environmental breaches even as the company sought to clean up the polluted facilities.

One environmental activist expressed reservations that Fioramanti's plan may be too dogmatic. "To listen to people who say different things is good", he said. "What the United Nations says is not a gospel".

Mr. Fioramonti has also pushed for additional pro-environmental legislation in the government, including increased taxes on plastic and airplane tickets with the tax revenue going to battle climate change problems.

The Zero Carbon bill aims to make New Zealand one of the first countries to legislate the reduction of its greenhouse gas emissions to the point the country becomes mostly carbon neutral by 2050.



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