The briefing ’Responding to the health risks of climate change in Europe’ highlights key health impacts from climate change as well as opportunities to reduce climate-related health risks through adaptation policies aligned with mitigation actions. The briefing is a joint effort of the Lancet Countdown: Tracking Progress on Health and Climate Change and the EEA.

Climate change threatens to undermine the past 50 years of gains in global public health through extreme heatwaves, threats to food and water systems, and changing patterns of infectious diseases. Weather and climate extremes are already leading to fatalities and negative health effects in Europe, the briefing reminds. Moreover, vulnerability to heat extremes continues to increase in Europe, due to a growing urban population, chronic health conditions becoming more common, and an increasing number of old people. Simultaneously, climate change is making some areas in Europe more suitable for various infectious diseases, including dengue fever, Vibrio infections and West Nile fever. The briefing notes that, while all EU member states have strategies or plans for adaptation, actions addressing the climate threats to health lag behind and could be supported by more knowledge on effective solutions. Moreover, at the local level, adaptation to climate change remains in the domain of the spatial planning, urban design, or environmental departments, and public health professionals should get more involved.

Reference information

Lancet Countdown in Europe
European Environment Agency
Related content:
Lancet Countdown in Europe
The 2020 report of The Lancet Countdown on health and climate change: responding to converging crises
Climatic suitability for infectious disease transmission - Vibrio
Climatic suitability for infectious disease transmission - Dengue
Exposure of older people to heatwaves

Published in Climate-ADAPT Mar 4, 2021   -   Last Modified in Climate-ADAPT Apr 4, 2024

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