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The co-benefits to health of a strong EU climate change policy

The co-benefits to health of a strong EU climate change policy HEAL has long advocated for joined-up policy-making which places health at the heart of climate change policy. These findings support those highlighted in a report produced by HEAL, Climate Action Network Europe and WWF in 2008 on the co-benefits to health of a strong EU climate change policy. This influential report suggested that raising the EU target on carbon emission reductions to 30% would prevent 5,300 cases of chronic bronchitis and 2,800 fewer hospitalisations annually by 2020. Achieving a 30% target would imply cleaner air and therefore fewer respiratory and related health problems, resulting in annual health savings of up to 25 billion Euros. These health savings are over and above the benefits of the European Union’s existing scenario of a 20 per cent target. The report shows that raising the target to 30 per cent would increase the savings by 25 billion, or 48%, from 51 to 76 billion euros.

This report has formed the backbone to HEAL’s climate and health campaigns, such as the Prescription for a Healthy Planet – which calls of global leaders to push for a fair and binding climate treaty, to promote a health friendly climate. This year will see HEAL, alongside our member Health Care Without Harm Europe, expand the campaign at EU level, calling for a 30% reduction in C02 levels as a first step towards a 40% reduction (compared with those of 1990), expanding our research on the health co-benefits, and helping the health community to reduce their carbon footprint.

Last updated on 27 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 »


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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