Protecting health in Europe from climate change: 2017 update

Current evidence that the climate is changing is overwhelming. Impacts of climate change and variability are being observed: more intense heat-waves, fires and floods; and increased prevalence of food- water- and vector-borne diseases. Climate change will put pressure on environmental and health determinants, such as food safety, air pollution and water quantity and quality. A climate-resilient future depends fundamentally on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Limiting warming to below 2 °C requires transformational technological, institutional, political and behavioural changes: the foundations for this are laid out in the Paris Agreement of December 2015. The health sector can lead by example, shifting to environmentally friendly practices and minimizing its carbon emissions. A climate-resilient future will increasingly depend on managing and reducing climate change risks to protect health. In the near term, this can be enhanced by including climate change in national health programming and creating climate resilient health systems.