In Italy, there has been no case challenging the government’s approval of projects that leads to increased emissions or ineffective adaptation.
However, a case could be based on breach of environmental impact assessment (EIA) requirements. The EU’s EIA Directive (Directive 85/337 codified by Directive 2014/52), implemented in Italy through a framework legislation (Legislative decree no. 152/2006, known as “Environmental Code”) requires the EIA process to include an assessment of the effect of the project on the climate (Art. 3 Directive 2014/52). Where the direct and indirect effects of a project on the climate are not included in the EIA process or where EIA has not been validly conducted, citizens can challenge authorization of the project before the administrative court.
Standing: Both individuals and associations can challenge the approval of projects before the administrative judge. To have standing, private citizens must prove the geographical nexus and potential harm arising from the violation of the EIA process. Environmental associations which have been identified as having national character under the Law 349/1986 are exempt from providing evidence of sufficient standing.
Remedies: If the court finds that the EIA has not been validly carried out, any permit, opinion, or license relating to the project may be revoked. If the EIA is found to be incomplete, the authorization for the project may be annulled. Some regional laws also provide for administrative monetary fines, in addition to the penalties envisaged by the Environmental Code.
For more country specific context and relevant national climate change law see: https://climate-laws.org/geographies/italy
This country report has been produced by Carlotta Garofalo, C2LI Research Assistant, Humzah Khan, C2LI Senior Research Assistant and Lydia Omuko-Jung, C2LI Legal Analyst. The summary is based on Barbara Pozzo, “The Italian path to climate change: nothing new under the sun” in F. Sindico and M. Moise Mbengue, Comparative Climate Change Litigation: Beyond the Usual Suspects, Springer, 2021.