climate activist
© Guglielmo Mangiapane/Reuters
A climate activist in Naples, Italy, July 2021.
Radical environmental activists are worse than climate change, Italy's ecological transition minister has said, calling for reliance on "numbers" rather than ideology. He was quickly blasted by the country's Green party.

"The world is full of radical chic environmentalists and it is full of extremist and ideological environmentalists," Minister Roberto Cingolani said at a political training school in Rome on Wednesday.

"They are worse than the climate catastrophe towards which we are hurtling, unless we do something that makes sense. They are part of the problem," he said, urging listeners to stay open to "non-ideological discussion."

Cingolani, a physics professor, argued that it is wrong "to ideologize any kind of technology," and options like nuclear power should not be taboo in environmentalist policymaking. "Let's stick to the numbers, when they're available, and make decisions based on them."

The minister stressed that the transition to a green economy "must be sustainable, otherwise we won't die from pollution, but from hunger."

Cingolani's remarks were criticized by Angelo Bonelli and Eleonora Evi, the leaders of the Green Europe (EV) party.

"Never has a minister of the [Italian] Republic been as reckless and rude as Cingolani," Bonelli wrote on Twitter. "Then go and shut down the Ecological Transition Ministry, which has become a center of policies against electric cars and renewables and for oil."

Green Europe co-chair Evi was equally shocked. "Environmentalists would be 'extremists and the radical chic' and 'worse than the climate catastrophe'? Did he really say that?!" the politician tweeted.