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06/01/2023 11:46

"Climate change is the greatest challenge facing humanity" - new status report on climate change and health

Susanne Glasmacher Presse- und Öffentlichkeitsarbeit
Robert Koch-Institut

    More heat-related deaths, new and increasing infectious diseases, increased exposure to allergens, a rise in antibiotic resistance, more lung diseases as a result of increasing air pollution, more skin cancer due to increased UV radiation - these are some of the negative consequences of climate change for public health. A new report, coordinated by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), provides an overview of the health impacts of climate change and ways to counteract them. The publication was coordinated through the project KlimGesundAkt, which is funded by the Federal Ministry of Health.

    "Climate change is the greatest challenge facing humanity, threatening our livelihoods and our secure future", this is how the heads of federal agencies working on public health topics in Germany begin their editorial for the new report. The editorial authors lead eleven institutions: The Federal Office of Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance, the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation, the Federal Office for Radiation Protection, the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, the Federal Centre for Health Education, German Federal Institute of Hydrology, the German Meteorological Service, the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut, the Thünen Institute, the German Environment Agency and the RKI. In total, more than 90 authors from over 30 research institutions and authorities have worked on this report. It will be published as a series of articles in three Special Issues of the Journal of Health Monitoring, the first part on 1 June in Special Issue S3/2023.

    The first issue focuses on the impact of climate change on infectious diseases. Topics include vector- and rodent-borne infections, waterborne infections and intoxications, foodborne infections and intoxications, and antibiotic resistance. An introductory article outlines the field of climate change and health. The second issue of the report, due to be published in the third quarter of 2023, focuses on non-communicable diseases that can be caused by heat and other extreme weather events such as floods, on the influence of climate change on allergic diseases, the consequences of altered UV radiation or higher air pollution levels, and the impact of climate change on mental health. The third issue, which will be published in the fourth quarter of 2023, examines health equity with regard to the effects of climate change, the importance of target group-specific communication on climate change and highlights the need for action based on the rec-ommendations formulated in the preceding articles.

    "In addition to the various topic-specific recommendations, all contributions have one thing in common: they point to a continuing need for research. Extended monitoring of many of the health effects of climate change is also recommended", the editorial authors conclude. Climate change affects many other fields related to health, e.g. the construction industry or urban and regional development. "Therefore, health-sensitive climate protection and climate adaptation require intersectoral cooperation and the continuous exchange between different actors in line with the ideas behind One Health and Health in All Policies", the authors of the editorial emphasise and have appropriately chosen the heading: "Together, we can counter the effects of climate change".

    Further information:


    Published by
    Robert Koch Institute
    Nordufer 20
    D-13353 Berlin
    Twitter: @rki_de

    Press office
    Susanne Glasmacher (Spokeswoman)
    Marieke Degen (Deputy spokeswoman)
    Heidi Golisch
    Claudia Paape
    Judith Petschelt

    Tel.: 030-18754-2239, -2562 and -2286

    The Robert Koch Institute is a federal institute within the portfolio of the German Federal Ministry of Health.

    More information:


    Criteria of this press release:
    Environment / ecology, Medicine, Nutrition / healthcare / nursing, Social studies
    transregional, national
    Miscellaneous scientific news/publications, Scientific Publications



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