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To: ENVI Committee
Re: Proposals for amendment of the “European Parliament Resolution on the EU strategy for the Copenhagen Conference on Climate Change (COP 15)

Brussels, 14 October 2009

To: Members of the European Parliament Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI Committee)

Concerning: Proposals for amendment of the “European Parliament Resolution on the EU strategy for the Copenhagen Conference on Climate Change (COP 15)”

ENVI Vote on 19 October on Copenhagen Climate Conference: Bring health to the centre of climate change towards Copenhagen and beyond

Dear Member of the European Parliament,

During the forthcoming ENVI Committee meeting on 19 October you will vote on the Draft Resolution and amendments to the “European Resolution on the EU strategy for the Copenhagen Conference on Climate Change (COP 15)”. As the leading representatives of European-wide health, medical and healthcare networks, we welcome the Draft Resolution from the European Parliament and would like to ask you to strengthen it to adequately recognize the health dimensions of climate change1.

Please support amendments 19, 40, 67 and 100, which bring health into climate change discussions and policy development.

Climate change will affect our individual health, public health and health care systems in the EU and globally. Health represents the point of convergence of all the disruptions and damages caused by climate change, both the direct ones, for example respiratory disease, and indirect ones, for example from water shortage and population movement. For instance, for every one degree Celsius rise in temperature, the risk of premature death among respiratory patients is up to six times higher than in the rest of the population2.

Yet in the current policy developments on climate change, there is not enough awareness of the negative impacts on health or of the potential benefits to health of strong measures of tackling climate change. Estimated savings on health costs in the EU from an increase to 30% domestic greenhouse gas reductions compared to 1990 emission levels by 2020, could be as high as 25 billion Euros per year from 2020 onwards3.

Moreover, the health sector will need to be at the forefront in responding to the effects of climate change, and developing adaptation measures which do not add further to the climate problem. Increased awareness and resources are needed to ensure this happens as recently highlighted in the WHO/HCWH discussion paper: ‘Healthy Hospitals, Healthy Planet, Healthy People: Addressing climate change in healthcare settings4’.

Therefore, the health and medical community urge you to vote in favour of the proposed amendments 19, 40, 67 and 100 (see Annex I, below) which would help strengthen the health aspect in your Draft Resolution by ensuring better protection of public health from climate change and support the healthcare sector fin adaption and mitigation actions.

We look forward to working with you to ensure that health becomes a cornerstone of international and EU climate change policy.

Sincerely,

Genon K. Jensen, Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL)

On behalf of:

  • Health Care Without Harm Europe (HCWH Europe)
  • European Respiratory Society (ERS)
  • Climate and Health Council (CHC)
  • AerztInnen fuer eine gesunde Umwelt, AeGU (ISDE) Austria
  • The Standing Committee of European Doctors (CPME).

Last updated on 13 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 »

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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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