Health and Climate Change: How do we protect people's health in the climate crisis?
This policy note comprehensively summarizes the relationships between climate change and health, opportunities for contribution, and specific recommendations for intervention. The first section characterizes the impact of climate change on the health of populations and on health systems. The population can be directly affected by climate change, for example through heat waves and indirectly, e.g., through the effect of droughts on air pollution and food availability. The effect on the population can be amplified by poverty and marginality, and can be reduced by public health and social protection policies. Likewise, the response capacity of health systems can be affected, for example by extreme weather, damaging the infrastructure or disrupting the transport of people or the logistics of medicines and supplies. Additionally, the health sector contributes to carbon emissions, especially through its operation. The second section describes the opportunities related to the design and implementation of a climate change agenda that incorporates all sectors, and is translated into a multisectoral national plan, with a specific health section that includes adaptation and mitigation, as well as the measures and metrics for its implementation and monitoring. The third section includes specific recommendations for health projects with mitigation and adaptation measures that can be included in operations.