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Lancet Countdown 2022: Dependence on fossil fuels threatens our health

New Research Findings, EPI, IEM,

„Everyone’s health is at the mercy of fossil fuels” is the central finding of this year’s Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change report. In this report, which was released on October 26th 2022, experts warn of health consequences of the climate crisis and criticize insufficient political measures.

Health effects of climate change

This year’s report points out that the impacts of climate change on human health are worsening. The effects of co-existing crises are magnifying this effect, leading to increased risk to global food security, transmission of infectious and heat-related diseases, and increased deaths from air pollution. Governments and corporations continue to prioritize fossil fuels, putting a livable future at risk. But there is hope: both public engagement and awareness of health issues and climate change among leading politicians are at an all-time high. Now, however, these efforts must be translated into action: Because only with an immediate, health-oriented response our future can be secured.

The significance for Germany

On November 3rd 2022, KLUG – Deutsche Allianz Klimawandel und Gesundheit e.V. – organized a launch event together with the Helmholtz Climate Initiative to highlight the fundamental importance of the report for Germany. In addition to Helmholtz Munich, cooperation partners include the Lancet Countdown, the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, the Centre for Planetary Health Policy (CPHP), the German Medical Association and the German Nursing Council. At the launch event, experts from the health and climate fields explain and discuss the key findings of the report and their significance for Germany. Participants included epidemiologist Prof Annette Peters, Director of the Institute of Epidemiology at Helmholtz Munich and Chair of Epidemiology at Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, and environmental researcher Prof Traidl-Hoffmann, Director of the Institute of Environmental Medicine at Helmholtz Munich and Chair of Environmental Medicine at the University of Augsburg. “We scientists urgently appeal to the politicians to push the phase-out of fossil fuels even faster to curb global warming and to improve air quality according to the recommendations of the World Health Organization”, says Prof. Annette Peters. And Prof. Traidl-Hoffmann emphasizes: “We as physicians can and must help initiate change, social tipping points. Through our voice, which clearly says: Climate change makes sick!”

Further information:

Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change: Health at the mercy of fossil fuels: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(22)01540-9/fulltext

News release on the Lancet Countdown Policy Brief for Germany 2021:
https://www.helmholtz-munich.de/en/newsroom/news-all/artikel/new-lancet-countdown-policy-brief-for-germany-continues-to-show-considerable-need-for-action

Story about Climate and Health:
https://www.helmholtz-munich.de/en/newsroom/research-highlights/climate-and-health

Recording of the German launch event on 3.11.2022:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-Xo95Gv6x8

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