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Fighting Air Pollution in Europe: Ramping Up Efforts for a Healthier Environment

Energy, Environment and Climate
Date: Wednesday, 18 October 2017 10:00 - 16:30

Venue: Thon Hotel Brussels City Centre, Brussels  |  City: Saint-Josse-ten-Noode, Belgium

Air pollution has massive negative consequences on human health, ecosystems and crop yields. According to a report from the European Environment Agency (EEA), it was the cause of over 450 000 premature deaths in the EU in 2016. The European Commission estimates the welfare cost of ill-health linked to poor air quality in the EU to range between €330 billion to €940 billion per year. It is thus paramount that the EU and the Member States increase their effort to fight air pollution and ensure cleaner air for present and future generations.   

In 2016, the European Parliament and the Council adopted the revised National Emission Ceiling (NEC) Directive, which set targets for 2020 and 2030 and broadened its scope to include PM2.5. In the same year, the EU Ministers Responsible for Urban Matters agreed to establish The Urban Agenda for the EU - Partnership for Air Quality, whose aim is to join efforts by the European Commission, the Member States, local authorities and other relevant stakeholders to focus on four concrete topics related to air pollution until mid-2017. Finally, in February 2017, the Commission published a first EU Environmental Implementation Review with the objective of improving compliance with the EU legal framework on air pollution. The review stresses the need for a new approach to mobility, as transport is currently the main source of EU air quality problems.

Wealth loss due to premature deaths from air pollution is projected to more than double in European OECD countries by 2060. According to the EEA, further progress in the reduction of pollutants beyond 2030 is likely to be slow, and the EU would thus risk not achieving its long-term air quality goals. Although the EU has reduced the levels of all main pollutants over recent decades, the Environmental Review highlighted that a number of Member States exceed the emission targets for NOx, NMVOCs or NH3 and the aerial concentration limit of various pollutants, especially in high-traffic urban areas. In this context, technology may play a crucial role, allowing innovation in key areas such as transport of goods and people, eco-friendly raw materials, air pollution control systems and clean energy production. Furthermore, the implementation of appropriate fiscal measures, funding schemes and coordination strategies would facilitate the transition towards a clean socioeconomic system.

This timely international symposium will provide an invaluable opportunity to discuss current challenges related to air pollution and to reignite the debate over an EU-wide strategy to ensure cleaner air in Europe, while also enabling the delegates to analyse the role of clean technologies in improving air quality.  The symposium offers a platform for discussion on an improved European regulatory framework on air pollution, supports the exchange of ideas, and encourages delegates to engage in thought-provoking topical debate.


09:15 Registration and Morning Refreshments
10:00 Chair's Welcome and Opening Remarks

Tracking Recent Developments in the EU Legal Framework on Air Pollution

  • Analysing the Revised National Emission Ceiling (NEC) Directive
  • Taking Stock of the Urban Agenda for the EU - Partnership for Air Quality
  • Assessing the Environmental Implementation Review and its Results
10:40 First Round of Discussions
11.10 Morning Coffee Break

Understanding the Consequences of Air Pollution on Human Health, Crops and Ecosystems

  • Evaluating Health Issues and their Economic Toll: Increased Welfare Burden and Long-Term Wealth Loss
  • Analysing the Negative Impact on Crops: Preventing Decline in Yields and Food Shortage
  • Appraising the Repercussions on Ecosystems and Biodiversity: Eutrophication, Acidification and their Effect on Life
12:00 Second Round of Discussions
12.30 Networking Lunch

Examining the Role of Social and Technological Innovation in Fighting Air Pollution

  • Fostering a New Approach to the Mobility of Goods and People
  • Designing Effective and Efficient Pollution Control Systems: Industrial and Commercial Solutions
  • Shifting to Clean Production: Renewable Energy and Eco-Friendly Raw Materials
14.00 Third Round of Discussions
14:30 Afternoon Coffee Break

Choosing the Right Enabling Tools to Achieve Environmental Policy Objectives

  • Implementing Appropriate Fiscal Measures: Environmental Taxation and Harmful Subsidies Phase-Out
  • Ensuring Adequate Funding: Green Public Procurement and Other EU Market-Based Instruments and Investment Opportunities
  • Creating a Conducive Institutional Framework: Fostering Policy Coherence and Coordination Among Relevant Stakeholders
15.20 Fourth Round of Discussions
15:50 Chair's Summary and Closing Remarks
16.00 Networking Reception and Refreshments
16.30 Symposium Close


For Registration, click here.



+44 (0)20 3137 8630
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Avenue du Boulevard 17
1210 Saint-Josse-ten-Noode, Belgium




All Dates

  • Wednesday, 18 October 2017 10:00 - 16:30

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