Ahead of the upcoming 2019 Climate Action Summit, the United Nations, the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment) and Climate and Clean Air Coalition announced the “Clean Air Initiative” which calls on governments at all levels to join the Initiative.
The “Clean Air Initiative” calls on national and subnational governments to commit to achieving air quality that is safe for citizens, and to align climate change and air pollution policies by 2030.
According to WHO, each year, air pollution causes seven million premature deaths, of which 600,000 are children. According to the World Bank, air pollution costs the global economy an estimated $5.11 trillion in welfare losses, and in the 15 countries with the highest greenhouse gas emissions, health impacts of air pollution are estimated to cost more than 4 percent of GDP.
Meeting the Paris Agreement on climate change, however, could save over one million lives a year by 2050 and yield health benefits worth an estimated $54.1 trillion — about twice the costs of mitigation — through reduced air pollution alone.
Governments at all levels can join the Clean Air Initiative by committing to specific actions, including implementing air quality and climate change policies that will achieve the WHO Ambient Air Quality Guideline values; implementing e-mobility and sustainable mobility policies and actions with the aim of making a decisive impact on road transport emissions; assessing the number of lives that are saved, the health gains in children and other vulnerable groups, and the avoided financial costs to health systems that result from implementing their policies and tracking progress, sharing experiences and best practices through an international network supported by the Breathelife Action Platform.
The announcement was made by the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Climate Action Summit, Ambassador Luis Alfonso de Alba, in New Delhi, India, following two days of meetings with representatives of governments, business and civil society.