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To: ENVI Committee
Re: Exchange of views on the draft report on the “Analysis of options to move beyond 20% greenhouse gas emission reductions and assessing the risk of carbon leakage”

14th March 2011

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

Concerning: Exchange of views on the draft report on the “Analysis of options to move beyond 20% greenhouse gas emission reductions and assessing the risk of carbon leakage (2011/2012(INI))”

ENVI Exchange of views on 15 March: Including health economic benefits in the climate change debate and outcomes

Dear Member of the European Parliament,

During the forthcoming ENVI Committee meeting on 15 March you will discuss the draft report on the “Analysis of options to move beyond 20% greenhouse gas emission reductions and assessing the risk of carbon leakage (2011/2012(INI))”.

As the leading representatives of European-wide health and healthcare networks, Health and Environment Alliance and Health Care Without Harm Europe welcome the draft report from the European Parliament and would like to ask you to strengthen it to adequately recognise the health benefits and cost savings arguments it brings to the current climate change debate. We echo calls of both the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Standing Committee of European Doctors who advocate for greater consideration of the health co-benefits in setting climate targets and strong emission reductions in Europe.i

We welcome discussions that have been taking place in the ENVI Committee on the possibilities of a European move beyond 20% to 30% domestic emissions reduction target by 2020, in line with Europe’s anticipated long term outlook towards a low-carbon economy by 2050. Such a move would bring substantial health benefits and healthcare savings for Europe, as well as other positive impacts related to sustainable development and green jobs creation.

Research by both Health & Environment Alliance (HEAL) and Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) Europe concludes that meeting the 30% GHG target would bring health benefits of up to €30.5 billion every year by 2020ii. The failure to decarbonise is much more costly. Reaching the 30% GHG target by 2020 will also save up to 140,385 life-years that would otherwise be lost due to premature death each yeariii. Respiratory disease alone costs Europe an estimated €102 billion or €118 per person per yeariv. Action now is imperative.

We therefore call on you to support the draft report and come forth with a strong position in support of a European domestic move to 30% emissions reduction target by 2020.

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

Sincerely,

Genon Jensen - Executive Director, Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL)

Anja Leetz - Executive Director. Health Care Without Harm Europe (HCWH Europe)

i World Health Organization, Health in the Green Economy (2010) http://www.who.int/hia/green_economy/en/ ii Health Care Without Harm and Health & Environment Alliance, ‘Acting now for a better health. A 30% reduction target for EU climate policy.’ (2010). iii Health Care Without Harm and Health & Environment Alliance, ‘Acting now for a better health. A 30% reduction target for EU climate policy.’ (2010); page 25. iv European Lung Foundation. Lung diseases: Economic impact. http://www.european-lungfoundation.... (accessed 13.08.2010)

Last updated on 13 June 2011

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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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