Climate Change and Health
The effects of climate change, identified as the biggest threat to global health in the 21st century, are already affecting health and well-being adversely, and impacts will aggravate in the future with drastic outcomes. Therefore, the inclusion and discussion of climate change and health as a priority of the German G7 Presidency is urgently needed. The G7 have the unique opportunity to increase ambition and demonstrate leadership in this area and pave the way for the transition towards climate resilient and environmentally sustainable, climate-neutral health systems. To safeguard health in a changing climate and to prevent worse effects, investments in workforce training, integrated surveillance, monitoring and early-warning systems, and adaptable and resilient governance structures are needed. Additionally, more and robust financing mechanisms are necessary to mobilise resources to prevent, prepare for, detect and respond to climate change related health risks that will increase in the years to come. While adaptive measures are imperative to safeguard human health in the prevailing climate change, governance for cross-sectoral climate mitigation is the way to effectively tackle the root causes of climate change and its impact on health. In this policy brief, we recommend that the G7 lead the transition towards climate resilient and sustainable, climate-neutral health systems, building on existing initiatives such as the COP26 Health Programme and committing to transforming their own health systems, as well as supporting other countries – especially low and middle income countries (LMICs) – in this transformation. We recommend that the G7 invest in integrated climate change and health surveillance, monitoring, early-warning systems and joint strategic foresight. Moreover, capacity building and training of the current and future health workforce is needed. Finally, the G7 could promote integrated financing of climate action in the global health architecture.