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New report on benefits of more ambitious climate action include health and jobs

HEAL welcomes a new report elaborated by the New Climate Institute with support from Climate Action Network (CAN), assessing the co-benefits of more ambitious climate action, which means better health.

Ahead of the next UN international climate negotiations (UNFCCC COP21) in Paris this December, governments are preparing their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs). INDCs are a key input to the negotiations of a new international climate agreement that is scheduled to be finalised at COP21 and come into effect in 2020. By designing ambitious INDCs over the next few months, countries have the opportunity to lay the foundation for a new climate agreement that sets the path towards maintaining temperature change below 2°C relative to pre-industrial level.

First, the report provides an overview of the general co-benefits that climate action may have and how they could be used to incentivise further ambitious greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions.

The analysis looks at what the EU INDC and the recent climate announcements made by China and the US will unlock in terms of annual cost savings from reduced fossil fuel imports, avoided pre-mature deaths from pollution and job creation in the renewable energy sector – and what benefits could be unlocked if commitments were larger.

The analysis finds that the EU’s 40 percent by 2030 GHG emission reduction target will deliver:

- Annual cost savings from reduced fossil fuel imports of over EUR 30 billion
- Prevention of around 6,000 pre-mature deaths from air pollution each year
- Creation of an additional 70,000 full-time equivalent jobs in the renewable energy sector

A more ambitious target in line with a 2 degrees compatible pathway (i.e. approximately 55% by 2030), could deliver a total of:

- Annual cost savings from reduced fossil fuel imports of up to EUR 160 billion
- Prevention of around 46,000 pre-mature deaths from air pollution each year
- Creation of an additional 420,000 full-time equivalent jobs in the renewable energy sector

HEAL’s Deputy Director Anne Stauffer says “This report adds to the growing body of evidence that greater climate ambition means better health. The massive health benefits expected from mitigation action not only include premature deaths avoided but also reduced healthcare costs and increased productivity. This should be welcome news for European decision-makers to step up decarbonisation commitments for the Paris climate conference”.

More information

- Full report: Assessing the missed benefits of countries’ national contributions

- HEAL quoted in Guardian article, 31 March 2015, Limiting climate change could have huge economic benefits, study finds

Originally posted on 9 April 2015

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 »

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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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