New briefing: Responding to the health risks of climate change in Europe

A new briefing by the Lancet Countdown and the European Environment Agency (EEA), published today explores the health impacts of climate change in Europe and suggests key opportunities for increased ambition with a focus on adaptation.

The briefing ‘Responding to the health risks of climate change in Europe highlights key health impacts from climate change including wildfires, heatwaves and extreme temperatures, the spread of infectious diseases and droughts. It outlines the opportunities to reduce climate-related health risks through adaptation policies in Europe.

At the national level, all EU Member States have National Adaptation Strategies and/or plans in place, and most have recognised climate threats to health through risk and vulnerability assessments. Nonetheless, the implementation of actions addressing the climate threats to health lags behind and could be supported by more knowledge on effective solutions.

Heat extremes are already leading to increased fatalities and negative health effects in Europe – a growing urban population, chronic health conditions becoming more common, and an increasing number of old people all contributing factors.

Climate change is also making some areas in Europe more suitable for infectious diseases, including dengue fever, Vibrio infections and West Nile fever.

This briefing is published on the new European Climate and Health Observatory, an online platform that provides easy access to a wide range of resources about climate change and health, and can also be found in the Europe centre publications section of our website here.

The Observatory is a joint project of the European Commission, the EEA and other contributors, which is hosted on Climate-ADAPT by the EEA. It is the first concrete deliverable of the European Commission’s new EU Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change . This Strategy, which was announced in the European Green Deal, is a key component in making Europe climate-neutral and climate-resilient by 2050.

Download the full briefing here.

Launching the European Climate and Health Observatory

A key initiative in this context is the European Climate and Health Observatory, coordinated by the EC and the European Environment Agency (EEA), and hosted on their Climate-ADAPT platform, launched in March 2021.

Join us for the launch event on 4 March 2021, register here.

The Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change is a central partner in this initiative, contributing indicators, insights and analyses, alongside the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the WHO Regional Office for Europe, and the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S).