Background Info on Climate Change

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The burden of climate change strikes economies as well as society as whole. It is estimated that more than 40,000 Europeans died as a result of the heat-wave in 2003. In 2010, summer climate changes caused droughts, fires and floods in several countries in Europe. Climate change also has impacts on air pollution, contributing for example to rising ozone levels which in turn impact health. Recent studies show that the increase in extreme weather events associated with climate change can lead to more cases of asthma attacks, especially for children. The good news is that action to mitigate climate change can improve public health in many ways.

Each year, the EU spends €100 billion on respiratory diseases and a further €135 billion on cardiovascular diseases. Reducing greenhouse gases which would also reduce air pollutants is good for the climate, national economies, peoples’ health and the environment.

The EU is committed to a 20% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2020 compared to 1990 levels. HEAL calls for at least a 30% EU greenhouse gas emissions reduction target by 2020 – the minimum required to keep global warming well below 2°C.

Since 2007, HEAL has worked to reframe climate talks around the positive health benefits. We work at both EU and global levels, and have played a significant role in the United Nations climate negotiations by bringing the voice of high level medical professionals in partnership with WHO.

About HEAL

The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) is a leading European not-for-profit organisation addressing how the environment affects health in the European Union (EU). We demonstrate how policy changes can help protect health and enhance people’s quality of life. Read more »


HEAL has over 70 member organisations, representing health professionals, not-for-profit health insurers, doctors, nurses, cancer and asthma groups, citizens, women’s groups, youth groups, environmental NGOs, scientists and public health institutes. Members include international and Europe-wide organisations, as well as national and local groups. Read more »

Contact us

Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL)
28 Boulevard Charlemagne
B1000 Brussels, Belgium
Phone: +32 2 234 3640
Fax: +32 2 234 3649
Press: Elke Zander

Direct telephone numbers: HEAL team page.

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