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To: President Barroso
Re: The Roadmap for a low carbon economy must include the 30% GHG target and stress health benefits and healthcare savings

European Commission Rue de la Loi 200 1049 Brussels

Monday 28 February 2011

To: President Barroso and the EU Commissioners

The Roadmap for a low carbon economy must include the 30% GHG target and stress health benefits and healthcare savings

Dear President Barroso,

We welcome discussions on a Roadmap for moving to a low carbon economy by 2050, which could bring substantial health benefits and healthcare savings for Europe. However, we are concerned that the current draft document does not refer explicitly to the 30% greenhouse gas (GHG) target. And more importantly, it does not provide a platform for a legislative debate about the urgent need to decarbonise the European economy nor the very many qualitative benefits that would arise from such a move, such as improved public health.

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 €30.5bn every year by 2020i. 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 yearii. Respiratory disease alone costs Europe an estimated €102bn or €118 per person per yeariii. Action now is imperative.

We therefore request that you bring forward proposals for the set-aside of allowances in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme and measures to implement the upcoming Energy Efficiency Plan to enable an informed and comprehensive debate about the future direction, health and prosperity of European citizens.

Yours sincerely,

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

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

List of signatories:

  • Climate and Health Council (CHC)
  • European Federation of Allergy and Airway Diseases Patients Association (EFA)
  • European Public Health Alliance (EPHA)
  • European Respiratory Society (ERS)
  • Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL)
  • Health Care Without Harm Europe (HCWH)
  • International Society of Doctors for the Environment (ISDE)
  • Standing Committee of European Doctors (CPME)

In CC: Commissioner Ashton, Commissioner Reding, Commissioner Alumina, Commissioner Kallas, Commissioner Kroesm, Commissioner Tajani, Commissioner Sefcovic, Commissioner Potocnik, Commissioner Rehn, Commissioner Piebalgs, Commissioner Bariner, Commissioner Vassiliou, Commissioner Semeta, Commissioner De Gucht, Commissioner Dali, Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn, Commissioner Lewandowski, Commissioner Damanaki, Commissioner Georgieva, Commissioner Oettinger, Commissioner Hahn, Commissioner Hedegaard, Commissioner Fule, Commissioner Andor, Commissioner Malmstrom, Commissioner Ciolos

i Health Care Without Harm and Health & Environment Alliance, ‘Acting now for a better health. A 30% reduction target for EU climate policy.’ (2010); page 11.

ii 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.

iii European Lung Foundation. Lung diseases: Economic impact. http://www.european-lungfoundation.... (accessed 13.08.2010)

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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