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HomeClimateGreater air pollution cuts to save billions in taxpayer money, CREA says
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Greater air pollution cuts to save billions in taxpayer money, CREA says

Adjusting Europe’s most polluting industry, regulated by the EU’s Industrial Emissions Directive, to the lowest achievable pollution limits could save up to 37,000 lives and 103 billion euros per year, according to a new Upgrading Europe’s Air study by CREA (Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air).

Stricter emission limits in the power and industrial sectors would avoid an estimated 120,000 cardiac hospital admissions, over seven million restricted activity days and 10,000 annual deaths compared with the latest reported emission data. In this case, the avoided economic cost savings are estimated at 28 billion euros annually, the study found.

The application of measures relating to emissions from intensive livestock would avoid 27,000 annual deaths with an estimated yearly economic cost-benefit evaluated at 75 billion euros, according to the analysis.

“It is imperative to change the culture that rewards polluters. Member states need to change their consistent alignment to the most lenient pollution reduction obligations, especially when they transpose EU standards into national rules. The case for huge public benefits of avoided air pollution thanks to strict limits is crystal clear, we cannot afford to lose further time for polluters to escape their responsibilities. We would expect Members of the European Parliament to not fall behind in the ambition to serve people’s interests first,” said Christian Schaible, Head of Zero Pollution Industry at the European Environmental Bureau (EEB).

In terms of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), bringing emissions in Poland to the ‘lowest feasible level’ has the potential to save around 4,000 lives and 11 billion euros in taxpayer money, the study noted. On a wider European scale, in Germany around 12,500 lives could be saved and avoid public expenses of up to 34 billion euros. Whilst almost 3,000 people could avoid health damage and eight billion euros can be saved if emission limits are adjusted in Italy.

“Air pollution control requirements for power plants, heavy industry and agriculture in the EU have fallen far behind best practice, causing tens of thousands of avoidable deaths each year. The economic burden associated with the pollution far exceeds any economic benefits from watered-down emission limits. The revision of the Industrial Emissions Directive is a once-in-a-decade opportunity to upgrade Europe’s air quality and protect European health,” said Lauri Myllyvirta, the study’s co-author and Lead Analyst at CREA.

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