Climate change mitigation is essential but expensive. However, the associated reduction in air pollution could provide substantial benefits, including economic savings.
To make informed decisions, policymakers need quantitative information on the size of these potential co-benefits and their contribution to other goals of sustainable development.
This study, part of the EU Climate Cost1 Project, assessed the impacts on air pollution of international climate change policies consistent with meeting the EU target of limiting the rise in average global temperature from pre-industrial levels to 2°C.
This was done by linking two well established models: Greenhouse Gas and Air pollution Interactions and Synergies (GAINS)2, that models impacts and costs of strategies on a range of air pollutants, and the Prospective Outlook for the Long term Energy System (POLES)3, that simulates global energy activities.
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The European Commission proposed a New General Union Environment Action Program (7th EAP) in November 2012 to guide the EU Environment Policy up to 2020.
Entitled “Living Well, Within the Limits of Our Planet“, the proposal sets out a clear vision of where Europe should be in the long term; in particular, it aims to enhance Europe’s ecological resilience and transform the European Union into an inclusive and sustainable green economy.
The EAP has the three-fold aim of achieving an inclusive green economy, whilst protecting the natural capital and the health of European citizens.
Specifically, protecting natural capital, encouraging more resource efficiency and accelerating the transition to the low-carbon economy are key features of the Program, which also seeks to tackle environmental causes of disease.
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According to a recent report of the European Commission, investment in SMEs working in the area of environmentally innovative technologies is producing above-average returns, while all creating valuable jobs and also alleviating relevant environmental impacts.
The performance of young SMEs funded in 2011-2012 under the Eco-Innovation component of the EU’s Competitiveness and Innovation Programme (CIP) have shown very impressive results.
The new report, “Analysing and Reporting the Results Achieved by the CIP Eco-Innovation Market Replication Projects”, has been commissioned by the Executive Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation (EACI) on behalf of EU DG Environment and undertaken by ICF GHK.
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A recent survey says 80% of Europeans would be prepared to change their purchasing habits and buy more environmentally-friendly products, but many feel they lack information and distrust manufacturers’ environmental claims. The European Commission Survey on the “Attitudes of Europeans towards building the single market for green products” indicates that more than three-quarters of respondents are willing to pay more for environmentally-friendly products if they were confident the products are truly environmentally-friendly (77%). Slightly more than half of EU citizens feel informed (55%) on the environmental impacts of products they buy and use.
Certainly, EU policy makers and citizens want to see more green products on shelves, but this survey shows that most of the people are confused by green claims and don’t trust them. That’s not good for consumers, and it is not rewarding those companies that are really making an effort. That’s why the EU Commission is working with companies and other stakeholders to develop the credible information consumers are looking for when they buy products. This will help open up new opportunities for innovation and investment in the green economy.
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