EU measures on emissions, climate and energy could save lives

EPA/OLIVER BERG/FILE PICTURE

Steam and fumes emerge from the brown coal-fired power plant Niederaussem operated by RWE near Bergheim, Germany.

Report shows that the number of premature deaths due to air pollution in 2030 could be reduced by more than half


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The European Commission’s new Clean Air Outlook report shows that the number of premature deaths due to air pollution in 2030 could be reduced by more than half, if the Member States fully apply the bloc’s policies on emissions, climate and energy, the European Commission said on June 7.

“While ensuring clean air for our citizens requires urgent action from Member States now, action to reduce air pollution will also pay off in the long run,” Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Commissioner Karmenu Vella said.

The analysis looks at Europe’s air from now up to 2030 and how it’s affected by the implementation of the National Emissions Ceilings Directive (NEC), the Commission said, adding that the analysis shows that the joint effect of new EU measures put in place since 2014 to reduce emissions from different sources such as, medium combustion plants, non-road mobile machinery or fuel-burning appliances and introduced as part of Energy Union can significantly improve air quality at a lower cost to society than initially expected.

Vella said this report shows that EU-level policies are effective and that multiple benefits are possible. “We are clearly on the right path. Now we have to make sure that these policies are fully implemented. For only one euro per citizen per year, thousands of premature deaths due to poor air quality could be prevented by 2030,” he said.

According to Vella, this is encouraging news for all Europeans concerned about air pollution, and for Member States authorities developing measures to deliver clean air to their citizens.

The Clean Air Outlook will help the Member States develop their National Air Pollution Control Programmes due by April 1, 2019, under the NEC Directive. The next Clean Air Outlook is foreseen for 2020.

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