main banner
You are here: Home page » Resources » Press releases

Climate report: How Austria could improve health and save money

Ground-breaking report reveals massive health benefits from higher climate change targets

Press release, Cancun, Mexico, 6 December 2010 - Public health in Austria would benefit up to 606 million Euros per year by 2020 if the European Union decides to strengthen their climate change targets, according to figures released today by Health and Environment Alliance and Health Care Without Harm Europe.(1)

Figures for Austria are released today to coincide with "Health Day" in Cancun and as a stimulus to Austrian negotiators at the climate change talks. (2) They are provided as an extension to a ground-breaking report published in Brussels in September 2010.

The report - Acting now for better health: A 30% target for EU climate policy - commissioned by the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) and Health Care Without Harm Europe (HCWH Europe), provides the first-ever estimates of the health savings for different Member States should the EU move from the current 20 per cent target to a 30 percent target on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. (3)

For the EU as a whole, the anticipated benefits could be as high as €30.5 billion. These savings would be on top of the up to €52 billion health gains anticipated as a result of emission cuts to reach the EU’s current 20 per cent target.

The study offers conclusive evidence that cleaner energy and cleaner air, associated with an immediate move to 30% domestic cuts in greenhouse gases by 2020, would go a long way to paying for itself in better health through Europe.

The new figures for Austria show that cleaner air resulting from the achievement of a higher European target would result in public health benefits of between €210 million and €606 million per year from 2020. (4)

This would include:

  • An increase in life expectancy of 2,800 years spread across the population.
  • 260,000 fewer days of restricted activity
  • 25,000 fewer days when people need to use respiratory medication
  • 2,800 fewer consultations for upper respiratory symptoms and asthma
  • 60,000 fewer working days lost annually due to cardiac and respiratory problems.

Austria would do well compared to many other EU countries as a result of a stronger EU target on emissions reductions. It comes in 14th in the EU27 ranking.

Health benefits for EU countries - Benefits per year by 2020 (upper bounds):

  • Germany €8.1 billion
  • Poland €4.0 billion
  • France €3.5 billion
  • Italy €3.4 billion
  • Romania €1.4 billion (NEW)
  • Czech Republic €1.3 billion (NEW)
  • Netherlands €1.1 billion
  • Greece €1.0 billion (NEW)
  • Hungary €1.0 billion (NEW)
  • Belgium €0.9 billion
  • Spain €0.9 billion
  • UK €0.9 billion
  • Slovakia €0.7 billion (NEW)
  • Austria €0.6 billion (NEW)
  • Bulgaria €0.3 billion (NEW)
  • Portugal €0.3 billion (NEW)
  • Other EU countries €1.1 billion (NEW CALCULATION)
  • (Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Slovenia, Sweden)
  • Total (all EU countries) €30.5 billion

Read the full figures for Austria here->]

The report, Acting now for better health: A 30% target for EU climate policy, goes beyond recent European Commission figures on health benefits, which did not provide national figures and calculated health benefits on the basis of increased mortality due to exposure to air pollution only. The analysis covers the costs of both death and ill-health, such as restricted activity due to heart and lung conditions, hospital costs, consultations, and medication.

More information from Dr Pendo Maro, Health Care Without Harm Europe (HCWH Europe) and Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) at or + 32 495 281 494 (in Cancun)

Diana Smith, Health and Environment Alliance, Mobile: +33 6 33 04 2943 (in Paris)


1. The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) aims to raise awareness of how environmental protection improves health. It brings together more than 60 organizations working at the European level. Website: and Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) is a global coalition of more than 440 organizations in 52 countries working with the health sector to reduce its impact on human health and the environment while advocating for global environmental health.

2. More details of "Health Day", 6 December 2010 at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 16) in Cancun, Mexico will be available at from 5 December 2010.

3. The report - Acting now for better health: A 30% target for EU climate policy - commissioned by the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) and Health Care Without Harm Europe (HCWH Europe) was published on 14 September 2010. It included figures for the EU as a whole plus Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Poland, Spain and the UK. The full report and a background briefing are available at and Original press release is available at

4 . The figures for Austria, which are released for the first time today, are pasted below.

Last updated on 15 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 »

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.

HEAL website privacy policy