The EU should move forward towards the objective of an “ambitious zero pollution” target because improving air quality in all European cities will bring “happiness” to citizens, Frans Timmermans, the European Commission vice president in charge of the Green Deal, said at the third EU Clean Air Forum in Madrid on Thursday.
Timmermans, together with Spain’s Ecological Transition Minister, Teresa Ribera, opened the Clean Air Forum, which brings together politicians, key stakeholders on climate, and experts to facilitate air quality policies at European, national and local levels.
Part of the solution lies in abandoning the use of coal: “there is no future for coal-fired plants”, considering that air pollution is the leading cause of premature death in the world, Timmermans said, EURACTIV’s partner EFE reported.
He also stressed that to succeed, it is “crucial to work together” with stricter rules on coordination and cooperation between energy, transport, urban planning and agriculture sectors, as well as local, national and European authorities.
“Our citizens want us to ensure the best benefits for the environment,” stressed Timmermans.
Ribera said that to improve air quality in the EU, “there are still many things to do” and called for a better understanding between citizens and local authorities.
(Fernando Heller | EuroEFE.EURACTIV.es)