Air pollution concerns European leaders

Jan. 31, 2013 at 11:36 AM
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BRUSSELS, Jan. 31 (UPI) -- The European Union needs better air pollution rules after new research finds more consequences for human health, said Environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik.

The World Health Organization said long-term exposure to fine particles in air pollution can lead to abnormal births and child respiratory diseases. The WHO report was conducted at the request of the European Union.

"EU air policy must be based on the latest science," Potocnik said in a statement. "The links it has found between air pollution and human health reinforce the case for scaling up our policy (and) it will be a key input to the 2013 air quality policy review."

The European Union says that particulate matter deprives European citizens of 8.6 months of life. Europe aims to cut most of its pollutants by 20 percent of their 1990 levels by 2020.

President of the European Commission Jose Barroso said Thursday from Vienna there was "no time to lose" on addressing climate issues. The world, he said, was moving close to the temperature threshold considered an environmental breaking point.

"We need to work together, certainly, because the challenges we face -- from atmospheric warming to energy insecurity -- simply know no borders," he said "But also because tackling these issues means going beyond traditional economic thinking and traditional political methods.

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