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Climate Change and Human Health: Findings from the Lancet Countdown Report 2023

Public Engagement, In Media, Environmental Health, EPI, IEM,

The consequences of climate change are far-reaching and profound. Extreme weather events, such as heat waves and droughts pose a severe threat to human lives and health.

"Climate change mitigation and the improvement of air quality in Europe are crucial measures that go hand in hand and will enhance public health from birth to old age today and in the coming decades."

Prof. Annette Peters, Director of the Institute of Epidemiology


"Prof. Claudia Traidl-Hoffmann: “Health implications of escalating temperatures have become a global concern. It's not just the increasing number of heat-related deaths that alarms public health experts; the broader spectrum of health issues stemming from excessive heat is a growing crisis. Even countries with milder climates like Germany are witnessing the health impacts of heat waves. The root of this escalating heat crisis can be traced back to climate change, significantly driven by the burning of fossil fuels. The continued reliance on these energy sources is a paradox; while they power economies, they also contribute to a deteriorating global health scenario. We need rules and alternative energy sources in order to maintain and improve people's health in our country in the long term and prevent social inequalities from worsening. Without significant and immediate action to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and invest in sustainable alternatives, research efforts can only mitigate, not solve, the broader health crisis."

Prof. Claudia Traidl-Hoffmann, Director of the Institute of Environmental Medicine

In order to actively address and counteract the threats of a changing climate, scientific expertise is essential to monitor the global system and to encourage conversation with policymakers. The Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change is a global initiative bringing together climate scientists, engineers, energy specialists, economists, political scientists, public health professionals, and doctors, to understand and accurately respond to the health impacts of climate change.

Helmholtz Munich scientists Prof. Annette Peters and Prof. Claudia Traidl-Hoffmann are actively involved in the German launch event for this years’ global report and the development of the Lancet Countdown Policy Briefs for Germany. Annette Peters, the Director of the Institute of Epidemiology, and her team extensively investigate the influence of detrimental environmental risk factors on disease development with pioneering expertise in assessing the impact of air pollution on cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. The team of scientists around Claudia Traidl-Hoffmann, the Director of the Institute of Environmental Medicine, is focused on the prevention and therapy of environmental diseases.

Established eight years ago the Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change is a collaborative effort to monitor and analyze five main aspects: climate change impacts, exposures, and vulnerability; adaptation, planning, and resilience for health; mitigation actions and health co-benefits; economics and finance; and public and political engagement. With the involvement of over 100 experts the 2023 report was released on November 15th and details, how human health and survival are at risk due to global warming, but also delivers clear guidelines for a healthier future for all. The 2023 report warns of immense costs in the healthcare sector if immediate actions are not taken, particularly in light of 2023 being the warmest year in the past 100,000 years. Furthermore, Lancet highlights the opportunities of using an increased share of renewable energy sources to reduce the millions of deaths in the last years from fossil-fueled air pollution worldwide. Due to the report the development of clean energies additionally promotes access to high-quality health services, which is an essential step towards healthier societies.

On November 23, a virtual launch event, facilitated by KLUG (Deutsche Allianz Klimawandel und Gesundheit e.V.), will summarize the most recent results from this year’s report and contextualize them within the context of Germany. Annette Peters and Claudia Traidl-Hoffmann from Helmholtz Munich is set to participate in this upcoming and openly accessible event alongside other recognized experts.


More information

Check out Prof. Annette Peters and her research the Institute of Epidemiology, and Prof. Claudia Traidl-Hoffmann’s research at the Institute of Environmental Medicine at Helmholtz Munich.

Learn more about the German Launch Event by KLUG and register here.

Read the full German Press Released published by KLUG here.