Air pollution and climate change

  • Transport is one of the main sources of air pollution, for which evidence on direct effects on mortality as well as on respiratory and cardiovascular disease is firmly established.
  • About 100 000 premature adult deaths attributable to air pollution occur each year in the WHO European Region. Emissions from road traffic account for a significant share of this burden.
  • Some 40 million people in the 115 largest cities in the European Union (EU) are exposed to air exceeding WHO air quality guideline values for at least one pollutant.
  • Children living near roads with heavy-duty vehicle traffic have twice the risk of respiratory problems as those living near less congested streets.
  • Indirect effects, such as the wide range anticipated from climate change, are becoming increasingly evident.
  • Transport is the fastest growing source of fossil-fuel CO2 emissions, the largest contributor to climate change. In the 25 EU countries in 2004, transport accounts for approximately 35% of total energy consumption, resulting in a 20% net increase of greenhouse-gas emissions over the past decade, due to a rise in transport volumes that outweighs improvements in vehicle efficiency