Health groups call on the leaders of the Western Balkan countries to harmonize national air quality standards with the World Health Organization Global air quality guidelines. Health experts should be actively involved in these decision-making processes to ensure the timely integration of public health measures into environmental policies. Compliance with WHO recommendations brings multiple benefits – reduced incidence of chronic diseases and premature deaths, reduced overall health costs and, most importantly, better health and higher productivity of people.
The upcoming finalisation of the Just Transition Fund will set the financial framework on how European regions will execute the much needed transition to carbon-neutral economies.
Decades of fossil fuel dependency have caused a large burden of disease in European countries – it is now of utmost importance not to exclude the health aspect from the ongoing Just Transition deliberations and negotiations.
Today, the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) has released a new briefing entitled Just transition for health protection – Why disease prevention and zero pollution need to be at the heart of energy investments which emphasises the need for a truly healthy and sustainable just transition and recommendations on how to ensure just that:
- Do not provide support for fossil fuel gas financing. Fossil fuel gas is not a bridge technology, and the burning of gas also leads to air pollution and health impacts.
- Link any release of Just Transition Funds to a commitment to set a date for phasing out coal power generation by 2030.
- Apply a zero pollution conditionality. This means excluding investments that do not move us from a polluting to a healthy, sustainable and green economy, nor investments in fossil gas.