The 2020 edition of Bologna Award, the Agri-food sustainability Award annually assigned by Caab (Food Center of Bologna) in collaboration with FICO Foundation, went to the Italian researcher Giacomo Grassi. Grassi, one of the few Italian scientists who is part of Ipcc, the UN’s intergovernmental group on climate change, was awarded “for the strategic importance of his analysis on CO2 streams from terrestrial ecosystems, behind the choices of the European Commission for the Green Deal, which sees Europe as a global leader in the policies on the subject of sustainable development policies”. Giacomo Grassi, 50 years old, with a degree in Agriculture and a doctorate in Forest Ecology at the University of Bologna, is now a researcher at the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission located in Ispra, in the province of Varese. His testimonies at the Climate Conferences were extremely important, including Paris 2015.
Bologna Award was given to him on the World Food Day, last October 16, during the work of the international conference dedicated to ‘Smart&Urban Farming. Mangiare e vivere sostenibile’, at Palazzo d’Accursio. A special mention went to the American leader of the food justice movement, Leah Penniman. Giacomo Grassi is an expert in forest issues: “The forest can help, but it cannot do everything by itself, even though it is an essential element – he recalled receiving the award –. Without forests, the climate goals of the Paris Agreement cannot be achieved, at the same time, we need above all a deep reconversion of the energy system, the way we produce and consume energy and also the agri-food system, which is responsible for almost a third of global emissions. It is a triple challenge, because we must simultaneously produce more food, but distribute it better, in more difficult climatic conditions and, at the same time, resulting in lower emissions
For the occasion, Giacomo Grassi was interviewed by La Repubblica and he underlined that: “The Government has just allocated 30 million euros for the forestation of urban and peri-urban areas. It is good news, not only for the climate but also for the health of citizens, because the benefits associated with trees go far beyond their ability to absorb carbon dioxide: they are also useful to improve air quality and lower temperatures”. The researcher also highlighted how the Municipality of Bologna was “among the first to ratify the Covenant of Mayors on climate and recently declared the climate emergency. Moreover, it was among the first cities to adopt an urban adaptation plan, planning strategies to better deal with heat waves, water resources management and hydraulic risk”.