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Triple wins for climate, air quality and health highlighted at EU Green Week

HEAL gave a presentation at EU Green Week to showcase strategies and measures that will protect the climate, improve air quality and boost our health.

HEAL Deputy Director Anne Stauffer focused on the links between climate change, air quality and health, in light of this year’s theme for Green Week - ‘Cleaner air for all’. 2013 is the EU Year of Air and proposals for measures on how to improve air quality will be presented this autumn.

There are numerous studies available which highlight the triple wins that could be reaped through moving to renewable energy, walking and cycling or shifting to a vegetarian diet or diet with less meat. Health benefits would not only result because of cleaner air, but also because the overall health status of the population would improve. Case studies for London and Delhi, India show that regarding transport, the largest health benefits would be gained by a combination of low emission vehicles and active transportation.

Quantifying health benefits were then outlined with the example of HEAL’s report ‘Acting NOW for better health: a 30% reduction target for EU Climate Policy’ where respiratory and cardiovascular diseases are set to benefit from stronger climate target. Anticipated health savings are estimated up to 30.5 billion Euros per year by 2020 if they EU moves towards the higher 30% domestic target.

Lastly, HEAL highlighted the health effects of air pollution from coal power generation with its recent report ‘The Unpaid Health Bill – How coal power plants make us sick’. Health costs associated with air pollution from coal power plants in Europe is estimated at up to 42.8 billion Euros per year.

At the end of the discussion, HEAL urged the EU Commission to come forward with ambitious proposals to cut down air pollution in Europe this year.

Last updated on 22 July 2013

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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