(From the left: Robin Fears, Michael Norton, Tanja Suni, Elias Hurmekoski, Eva-Mari Aro, Thierry Courvoisier. Photo by Sebastian Trzaska)
“Climate change poses major risks to health in the EU via both direct effects, e.g. due to increased exposure to extreme heat and floods, and effects mediated through ecosystems and socioeconomic systems. Climate change can increase risks of communicable and non-communicable diseases (including mental illness), and injuries. Among the most vulnerable groups are likely to be the elderly, the sick, children, and migrating and marginalised populations. City dwellers are exposed to higher levels of heat stress than rural populations because of the urban heat island effect. Without prompt and effective action, the problems are forecast to worsen considerably.”
This is addressed in the recently published EASAC policy report The imperative of climate action to protect human health in Europe. The report was introduced on 13 June in Helsinki by Dr Robin Fears, EASAC Biosciences Programme Director. The public event at the Europe Hall was organized by EASAC and the Council of Finnish Academies, and it was part of the EASAC Council meeting programme in Helsinki.
Fears noted, that even if there is research on the topic, it remains as a question, how human beings will respond to the environmental changes in terms of adaptation. In the report, the limits of adaptation were discussed as physical, technological, behavioural and economical.