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 winners of the European Fossil Fuel Subsidies Awards have been revealed, with Poland as the big “winner”! The awards, for which HEAL helped judge the unhealthiest contestants, were organised to draw attention to the ways governments subsidize fossil fuels across Europe.
From 10 April until 8 May, the public had a chance to vote in the first European Fossil Fuel Subsidies Awards, organised by the Climate Action Network Europe (CAN Europe) and supported by the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) and other health and environment groups.
Fossil fuel subsidies cause pollution, provoke premature deaths, spread disease and endanger the climate. The awards were organised to draw attention to the different ways European governments use tax payers’ money to subsidise the burning of more fossil fuels, actively fuelling climate change and harming human health. A total of 9 countries were awarded for their deadliest, dirtiest and sneakiest subsidies to fossil fuels in Europe.
In the medal ceremony, which can be viewed on CAN Europe’s Facebook page, Poland was awarded gold in the Deadly Funding category for misusing EU funds to burn coal. Norway topped the Dirty Tax Gift leaderboard for using taxpayers’ money to support arctic oil exploration, while Ireland was crowned number one for giving Sneaky Special Treatment to peat-burning. A special award was granted to the EU institutions for their political and financial support for gas infrastructure, in particular to the Southern Gas Corridor project.
An overview of each winner with background briefing can be found here.