Monday, February 10, 2014

A Plan to Reduce the Impact of Air Pollution by 37% in 15 Years

 A Clean Air Programme for Europe (11 page pdf, Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions , European Commission, Dec. 18, 2013) 

Today we review a new package of measures announced by the European Commission which would improve air quality by reducing vehicle emissions such as nitrogen oxide by over 70% and produce economic savings of 40 to 140 billion EU in health benefits alone. The measures include revised short term targets, and stricter emission targets for the six main pollutants and reduced emissions from medium size utilities such as energy plants.  

English: Constituency for the European Parliam... Key Quotes: 

"Urban air pollution is set to become the top environmental cause of mortality worldwide by 2050, ahead of dirty water and lack of sanitation" 

“The government, London mayor and local councils must take bold action to tackle air pollution – building new roads and expanding airports will simply add to the problem. The UK has been allowed to drag its heels on delivering clean air for far too long," 

“Air pollution is the number one environmental cause of premature death in the EU, responsible for ten times the toll of road traffic accidents. In 2010 it caused over 400 000 premature deaths as well as substantial avoidable sickness and suffering including respiratory conditions (such as asthma) and exacerbated cardiovascular problems. The overall external costs of these impacts ranged between €330-940 billion, including labour productivity losses and other direct economic damages valued at €23bn per year in 2010.

 Components of the new clean air package:
  • “A new Clean Air Programme for Europe with measures to ensure that existing targets are met in the short term, and new air quality objectives for the period up to 2030….
  • A revised National Emission Ceilings Directive with stricter national emission ceilings for the six main pollutants , and
  • A proposal for a new Directive to reduce pollution from medium-sized combustion installations, such as energy plants for street blocks or large buildings…”
“Existing and planned EU source measures will continue to make a substantial contribution to achieving the required reductions, ranging from 57% of the required reduction for VOCs to 72% for NOx.”

Health benefits alone will save society €40-140 billion in external costs and provide about €3 billion in direct benefits due to higher productivity of the workforce, lower healthcare costs, higher crop yields and less damage to buildings. The proposal will also add the equivalent of around 100 000 additional jobs due to increased productivity and competitiveness because of fewer workdays lost”
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