Italian economy faces threat from climate change – central bank

ROME (Reuters) – Rising temperatures risk stunting the growth of the Italian economy over the coming decades, with sectors such as agriculture and tourism among the hardest hit, a Bank of Italy research project said on Wednesday.

The study highlighted the wider impact of climate change, saying that businesses in parts of the country prone to landslides and flooding were more likely to fail than those in other areas.

It also noted the impact of high temperatures and pollution on students and workers, with worse performances recorded for exams taken on hot days and more work-related accidents reported when air quality was poor.

Italy is already feeling the effects of a changing climate and in July, the government declared a state of emergency in areas surrounding the river Po in the north.

The Po valley accounts for roughly a third of the country’s agricultural production and has been suffering its worst drought for 70 years.

Gross domestic product per person could fall by anything between 2.8 and 9.5% by 2100 compared with baseline estimates, the report added.

When it comes to tourism, winter sports were the most exposed, with reduced snowfall indicating fewer visitors would head to the Alps to ski. Resorts at lower levels faced the greatest risk, with artificial snow unable to compensate fully for the absence of the genuine article.

(Writing by Keith Weir, editing by Alvise Armellini and Bernadette Baum)

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