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Climate change and health policy update – February 2010

Climate change and health Policy developments - An overview of policy developments in the EU. For more information please contact Pendo Maro,

14–17 January – Informal Environment Council: Ministers agreed to pledge a single EU target for reducing Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, rather than individual national targets, to the annex of the Copenhagen Accord. According to the Copenhagen Accord, all industrialised countries are to submit their emissions reduction pledges to the UNFCCC Secretariat by 31 January 2010. The target agreed for the EU is the 20% by 2020 compared to 1990 levels, with a conditional move to 30% if other countries move forth.

On 9 February, the European Parliament will vote on the new European Commission, after having held hearings with each Commissioner designate. Click below to read a summary of the hearing of the Commissioner-designates for;

- Climate, Connie Hedegaard’s

- Health, John Dalli.

Article: "Patients first. Consumers first" : Designate Commissioner John Dalli heard by the European Parliament.

- Environment, Janez Potočnik.

Article: New EU Commissioner for Environment,Potočnik, to prioritise green growth and biodiversity.

Commission White Paper: Adapting to Climate Change: towards a European framework for action. Rapporteur: MEP Prodi Vittorio

The Draft report was discussed in the European Parliament’s ENVI Committee on 25 January. Next steps will a be deadline for report amendments on 12 February 12 followed by a vote in the ENVI Committee on 16 March and in European Parliament Plenary in April.

HEAL and HCWHE welcome the inclusion of a chapter on health and social policies in the report, but call for a strengthening of the section to highlight the important role of the health sector, the need to address respiratory impacts and health co-benefits.

HEAL’s action on climate change and health

HEAL and HCWHE wrote letters to Spanish Presidency, Commissioner President Barroso and EU Environment Ministers asking them to ensure Mexico delivers a FAB (fair, ambitious, binding) deal, one with ambitious EU targets (-40% by 2020, compared to 1990 levels) and adequate financing to developing country mitigation and adaptation efforts. We called on the EU to pledge a 40% target on 31 January, as this would be more in line with keeping global temperatures to below 2°C and avert dangerous climate change. Read the press release here.

11 January - Anne Stauffer attended a Workshop on “Policy Options for climate change and Health”, organised by the WHO Regional Office for Europe and the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency.

12 January - Anne attended the Meeting of the WHO Europe Task Force which discussed the draft for the WHO Europe Document: Protecting health in environment challenged by climate change: A European Regional Framework for Action.

HEAL and HCWHE have started discussions with MEPs on the EP Report on Adapting to Climate Change. We believe MEPs can make the report stronger by including a range of health impacts, the effects on vulnerable groups such as respiratory patients, children and the elderly, as well as highlighting the importance of the health sector in adaptation.

Your Action

You can still sign the Prescription For a Healthy Planet as an individual or organisation - and encourage others in your network to do so too. Sign up here...

Already, over 100 health organisations and 120 individuals have signed up to the campaign, this number continues to rise daily – see the list of endorsers on the new website

-  Keep up to date with the latest health and environment news - follow HEAL on Twitter.

Last updated on 8 June 2011

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 »

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