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Citizens call for end of coal as support for Germany’s climate plans grows

On 25 April citizens formed a human chain along an open pit mine in North-Rhine Westphalia, Germany, to call for the shift away from coal and a just energy transition. HEAL supports ambition German government plans to further cut CO2 emissions from the power section as it is positive news for both the climate and health.

A HEAL report (shown on the Anti-Kohle-Kette website, right) has estimated the cost of Germany’s power plants on health at over 6 billion EUR a year to citizens, the healthcare system and the economy. Coal power plants emit large amounts of CO2 as well as releasing thousands of hazardous pollutants into the air. The latter are responsible for an increase in cases of asthma, lung conditions and heart disease.

With growing calls for climate action, in Germany and worldwide, plans for an ambitious new climate levy would be a win-win for the German government and an opportunity to mitigate climate change and to produce health benefits.

Last month HEAL and member organisation Women in Europe for a Common Future (WECF) sent letters to German Chancellor Merkel, Economic Minister Gabriel and Health Minister Groehe, underlining that plans to further cut CO2 emissions and the proposal for a new climate levy are not only good news for the climate, but also for health, and they should not be weakened. The letters are available here

A climate levy gives Chancellor Merkel a chance to show an important aspect of her climate leadership at home, which will echo in Europe. She is already looking to place ambitious climate targets high on the agenda of the upcoming G7 summit, and ahead of the international climate negotiations (COP21) later this year.

HEAL in the media

Anne Stauffer HEAL’s Deputy Director provided a quote for a Tree Alert on Friday 24 April: “The German government plans to further cut CO2 emissions from the power sector are welcome news not only for the climate but also for health. Coal power plants emit large amounts of CO2 as well as releasing thousands of hazardous pollutants into the air. The latter are responsible for an increase in cases of asthma, lung conditions and heart disease. A HEAL report has estimated the cost of Germany’s power plants on health at over 6 billion EUR a year to citizens, the healthcare system and the economy. The new climate levy is therefore a win-win - an opportunity to mitigate climate change and to produce health benefits. On the road to the Paris COP21, this initiative gives Chancellor Merkel a chance to show an important aspect of her climate leadership at home, which will echo in Europe.” - Anne Stauffer, Deputy Director of Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL).

She was then quote in AFP here saying that Merkel’s "climate leadership... will echo in Europe."

Originally posted on 7 May 2015

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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 »

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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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