Adaptation to health effects of climate change in Europe
Scientific evidence shows that the climate is changing largely as a result of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emission. Even if all countries adhere to their current commitments a rise of 3 °C is predicted. Climate change already has negative effects on health. The main impacts on health in Europe are from heat and heat-waves, changing patterns of infectious and vector-borne diseases, and from extreme disasters like floods and fires. The need for making the health sector more resilient to risk at large has been illustrated not the least by the recent COVID-19 crisis. This opinion presents the challenges for the health sector caused by the need for adapting to the increased risks from climate change. The opinion recommends: the integration of health aspects in all policies, across all sectors and governance levels, affected by the climate change adaptation strategies and plans; supporting the capacity and preparedness of the health sector in the EU to deal with climate impacts, as part of broader disaster and emergency risk strategies, including surveillance, monitoring and assessment; designing policies to support the most vulnerable social groups and geographical areas.