World Health Day 2008 – Protecting health from climate change
Climate change is already happening in Europe
All societies are now vulnerable to climate change, variability and extremes. Effects on human health have already been observed in the WHO European Region.
The sooner countries act, the higher the benefits and the lower the costs. Investing in strong mitigation measures - to stop the accumulation of greenhouse gases (reduce exposure) and slow down the changes in the climate - will result in health benefits. Countries can also plan adaptation measures (to reduce effects) to help their citizens cope with new threats.
Health systems play an important role in putting in place measures to prevent and respond to climate-related threats to health.
For example, they can:
- strengthen existing public health approaches to control disease and protect health;
- anticipate effects and detect them early; and
- inform the public.