Additional CO2 cuts could save EU billions in health costs, NGO says
14.09.10 @ 09:27
The EU could save an additional €30 billion a year in health-care costs if it deepened its cuts in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 from 20 to 30 percent, a study published by the campaign groups 'Health and Environment Alliance' and 'Health Care Without Harm Europe' on Tuesday (14 September) says.
Taking into account anticipated improvements in life expectancy, the reduction of days of restricted activity and decrease in the number of medication and consultations, the difference of 10 percentage points in the emission targets could generate €10 billion to €30.5 billion annually, the report says.
Germany would benefit the most from the reduction, with savings of up to €8.1 billion, Poland would gain €4 billion, France €3.5 billion, Italy €3.4 billion and the Netherlands €1.1 billion.
"The findings of this report present the EU with a much needed 'shot in the arm' for the global climate talks next month. We would like to see these new health impact figures clinch the deal so that Europe moves immediately and unilaterally to a 30 percent internal target prior to the Cancun meeting in December," Genon Jensen, Executive Director of Health and Environment Alliance was quoted as saying in a press release.
According to the group, the maximum savings would be achieved if the EU countries cut their emissions domestically, rather than through buying emissions offsets from abroad. "Flexible" lowering using emissions trading would yield €5 billion to €14.6 billion.
Current anticipated benefits for the achievement of the 20 percent reduction in emissions by 2020 compared with 1990 levels are estimated at up to €52 billion a year. The European Commission has estimated the additional costs of the 30 percent target at €46 billion per year.
The EU is committed to reducing its CO2 emission by 20 percent and by 30 percent if other large polluting countries such as the US and China agree to do the same.
In May, the commission started an "informed debate" on whether to increase its target to 30 percent, a move endorsed by the German, French and British environment ministers, but opposed by Poland.