On the side lines of this year’s UN climate change conference in Glasgow, more than 40 people from around the world joined our initiative to run 20.30 kilometres to support the science-backed need for a coal phase-out by 2030.
Davor Pehchevski, Balkan Air Pollution Campaign Coordinator | 8 November 2021
As we enter the final decade to transform our world in such a way that prevents a climate catastrophe, everyone must be on board and support this move in any way possible. This year, our second edition of the Lung Run focused on climate action as a way to also improve air quality in the Balkans and fight the same enemy, the fossil fuels industry.
Since 2016, we have been collecting data to prove that coal-related air pollution impacts people’s health. From 2018 the Western Balkans coal power plants have caused 19 000 deaths, 12 000 of which were due to the breaches in the legal air pollution limits. Unlimited amounts of pollution spread uncontrollably through the continent, crossing borders and harming people.
We have all the data we need and we know who’s to blame. Coal is the main source of emissions of pollutants into the air right now and also the main source of greenhouse gasses that are damaging our climate. In order to keep climate change within acceptable limits, we have to phase-out coal before the year 2030. The science is clear on this, it is possible and it is achievable.
The Lung Run provides a perfect platform for people from different backgrounds to amplify this imperative to phase out coal use by 2030 to avert climate emergency and to ensure breathable air for future generations, while urging decision makers at the 2021 UN Climate Conference in Glasgow (COP 26) to take action aimed at saving lives and the environment.
More than 40 people joined our call to run or walk this symbolic distance of 20.30 kilometres at this year’s virtual edition of the Lung Run and shared photos and messages supporting our cause. People from all over Europe took part – from Glasgow, in the midst of the conference, to the coal regions in the choking Balkans and Ukraine. The total distance covered by participants was enough to get from Glasgow to Brussels and deliver one clear and simple message to the EU – there cannot be a pollution-free Europe without a coal-free Europe.
We are running out of time, and we need action now.
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