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'Peace or air conditioning': Italy limits a/c, heating temps to conserve energy

'Peace or air conditioning': Italy limits a/c, heating temps to conserve energy
Italian Premier Mario Draghi welcomes French President Emmanuel Macron to the G20 Summit in Rome on Oct. 30, 2021. A new Italian government initiative will limit air conditioning and heating temperatures to conserve energy as the EU looks for ways to lessen dependence on Russian natural gas due to the invasion of Ukraine. Photo by G20/UPI | License Photo

April 20 (UPI) -- Public buildings in Italy will face new limits on air conditioning and heating temperatures in an effort to counter an energy crisis stemming from the Russian war on Ukraine.

Starting May 1 Italian public buildings will not be able to set air conditioning any lower than 77 degrees Fahrenheit, while heating in public buildings will be limited to 66.2 degrees Fahrenheit.

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Called Operation Thermostat, the Italian government limits will be in place through March 31 of next year in an effort to conserve natural gas use in the country.

Prime Minister Mario Draghi also said at a press conference Wednesday that Italy would follow the EU on any new sanctions against Russia.

About 45% of natural gas used in Italy comes from Russia, though the EU has not yet proposed an embargo of Russian natural gas.

"It is not a possibility being discussed at the moment, but the situation is constantly evolving," Draghi said. "If we are offered a gas embargo, we will follow the EU down this path -- we want the most effective instrument to achieve peace."

Two Italian ministers traveled to Africa on Wednesday in search of new potential sources of natural gas.

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Draghi earlier this month rhetorically asked "do we want peace or do we want to have the air conditioning on?" when pledging his nation would comply with an EU embargo on Russian natural gas if leaders call for one.

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