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:

EU Parliament Scenario

The EU Parliament scenario takes into account changes to Europe’s climate and energy policy which were agreed after the European Commission made its proposal to improve air quality. It therefore sees improvements to air quality and lower pollution levels than the Commission’s proposal. As the study was prepared for the European Parliament, we have called it the EU Parliament scenario.

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

Premature Deaths

238,348 deaths

Number of premature deaths caused by air pollution in 2025.
That is the equivalent of 653 people every day.

Baseline Scenario EU Commission Scenario EU Parliament Scenario More Ambitious Scenario
306,543
premature deaths
281,213
premature deaths
238,348
premature deaths
224,360
premature deaths
2025 2030
238,348
premature deaths
229,345
premature deaths

Nature at risk

737,465 km²

is still at risk due to air polution in 2025
That represents 103,286,476 football pitches

Baseline Scenario EU Commission Scenario EU Parliament Scenario More Ambitious Scenario
885,277 km² 850,599 km² 737,465 km² 684,724 km²
2025 2030
737,465 km² 709,144 km²
vs

Health benefits
relative to baseline

Between 47.68 and 164.53 billion Euros in 2025

That represents between 3% and 11% of the National Health Expenditure of the EU ( 1,536.64 billion Euros)

Economic costs
relative to baseline

1.67 billion Euros in 2025

That is the equivalent of every person in the EU spending € 0.01 per day

Baseline Scenario EU Commission Scenario EU Parliament Scenario More Ambitious Scenario
Health benefits 0 Euros 18.04 to 60.78
billion Euros
47.68 to 164.53
billion Euros
57.85 to 198.72
billion Euros
Economic costs 0 Euros
1.67
billion Euros
47.09
billion Euros
2025 2030
Health benefits 47.68 to 164.53
billion Euros
49.50 to 179.38
billion Euros
Economic costs 1.67 billion Euros 1.13 billion Euros

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