Air-o-meter

Breathing clean air is essential for our health and well-being.

Despite improvements to Europe’s air since the 1970s, air quality is still well below the World Health Organization’s recommended levels.

Over the coming months, the European Union will set new emissions limits for every member state to reach by 2020, 2025 and 2030.

But what are the likely impacts of these decisions? You have a right to know.

That’s why we created the Air-o-Meter. For each policy scenario, you can see what the impact will be on your health, your economy and your environment.

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Despite improvements to Europe’s air since the 1970s, air quality is still well below the World Health Organization’s recommended levels.

This means that over 400,000 people die prematurely every year because of exposure to air pollution. That’s over 45 people every hour. The health-related costs are estimated at between €300 billion and €900 billion every year.

Over the coming months, the European Union will set new pollution limits for every member state to reach by 2020, 2025 and 2030.

The European Commission has proposed to cut pollution levels which would reduce the health damage in Europe caused by air pollution by 52% in 2030 compared to 2005. Other, more ambitious scenarios are also on the cards.

But what are the likely impacts of these decisions? You have a right to know.

That’s why we created the Air-o-Meter. For each policy scenario, you can see what the impact will be on your health, your economy and your environment.

The Air-o-Meter provides country-by-country data for the years 2020, 2025 and 2030 for four different future scenarios. It shows the impacts of air pollution on our health and our nature and outlines what the economic costs and health benefits of each scenario would be.

The ‘more ambitious’ scenario is by no means the ‘MOST ambitious’ scenario. It would still lead to 217,000 people dying every year because of air pollution. Promoting other policies such as more energy efficiency and renewable energy, cycling or walking would lead to even greater benefits. As a result, the very minimum the EU should be aiming for is the ‘More ambitious scenario’.

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Step 1 - Select a country, or pick the entire EU:

The EU

Step 2 - Select a scenario:

Baseline Scenario

The baseline scenario reflects what will happen if current air quality legislation is fully applied and there are no further changes to EU air quality law. It does not include the changes expected to result from the EU’s new climate and energy policy for 2030.

Step 3 - See the Air-o-Meter projections for:

Premature Deaths

306,755 deaths

Number of premature deaths caused by air pollution in 2020.
That is the equivalent of 840 people every day.

Baseline Scenario EU Commission Scenario More Ambitious Scenario
306,755
premature deaths
324,884
premature deaths
233,154
premature deaths
2020 2025 2030
306,755
premature deaths
306,543
premature deaths
303,879
premature deaths

Nature at risk

950,519 km²

is still at risk due to air polution in 2020
That represents 133,125,912 football pitches

Baseline Scenario EU Commission Scenario More Ambitious Scenario
950,519 km² 953,828 km² 751,205 km²
2020 2025 2030
950,519 km² 885,277 km² 870,484 km²
vs

Health benefits
relative to baseline

0 Euros in 2020

Economic costs
relative to baseline

0 Euros in 2020
Baseline Scenario EU Commission Scenario More Ambitious Scenario
Health benefits 0 Euros 0 Euros 54.40 to 178.50
billion Euros
Economic costs 0 Euros
38.25
billion Euros
2020 2025 2030
Health benefits 0 Euros 0 Euros 0 Euros
Economic costs 0 Euros 0 Euros 0 Euros

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