German doctors warn of health consequences from heatwaves in policy brief presented at the Hertie School.
The UK peer-reviewed medical journal, The Lancet, published its annual Countdown on Health and Climate Change report on 14 November, with a contribution by Slava Jankin, Hertie School Professor of Data Science and Public Policy and Director of the Hertie School Data Science Lab.
For the first time, it also included a policy brief with recommendations for Germany, based on a collaboration of the Hertie School, the German Medical Association (Bundesärztekammer), the university hospital Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, and the research institutes Helmholtz Zentrum München and the Potsdam-Institut für Klimafolgenforschung.
Jankin contributed to the section of the report focusing on public and political engagement in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Section V of the report considers media, government, corporate sector and individual engagement, tracking trends across the last decade and analysing the types and dynamics of engagement in 2018.
Ahead of a conference at the Hertie School on the same day to discuss the findings of the report, Jankin said: "Monitoring not only helps us to map the dynamics of how health and climate change are inter-related, we also want to provide a reliable basis for political decisions.”
In the German policy brief, the German Medical Association and co-authors warned that due to a growing number of heatwaves expected in the coming years, elderly people, infants, those with chronic illnesses or who do heavy physical work outdoors, such as construction workers, “will be most susceptible to heat-related health consequences such as heat stroke, heart attack and acute kidney failure due to fluid deficiency”. There are likely to be as many as five additional heat waves per year in northern Germany and up to 30 in southern Germany by the end of the 21st century if there is no reduction in greenhouse, they note the policy brief.
Hertie School Assistant Professor of Data Science and Public Policy Simon Munzert also contributed to the larger Lancet report. The Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change is an international, multidisciplinary research collaboration that monitors health issues related to climate change. It provides an independent assessment of how governments are delivering on their commitments made under the Paris Agreement.