Weather extremes, higher pollen loads, new insect species: A recent report describes problematic consequences of climate change in Austria and their impact on health. The "Austrian Special Report on Health, Demography and Climate Change" was recently presented by the Climate and Energy Fund together with the Federal Ministry for Sustainability and Tourism (BMNT). More than 60 experts worked on the study. experts under the umbrella of the " Austrian Panel on Climate Change " (APCC) with. The aim of the panel is to research the consequences of climate change.
This summer once again brought record temperatures, the Climate Fund said in a release. In all provincial capitals, there were significantly more heat days with a maximum of at least 30 degrees than in an average summer. In Vienna, there were a total of 40 tropical nights. Thus more than in any other summer since measurements began. How are climate change. Health together?"The record summer of 2018 has shown: Climate change is real, and its effects are clearly felt," says Sustainability Minister Elisabeth Kostinger. "With the present study, which was commissioned by the Climate and Energy Fund, well-founded facts have been established. Now we need concrete solutions to be prepared for the future. Austrian government gives high priority to climate protection, says Kostinger.
The report clarifies how climate change and health are related (quote): "Driven by the increase in temperature, which is proceeding at an unprecedented speed, climatic conditions are changing worldwide – also in Austria – which have a direct and indirect influence on health determinants."
Increased health risks
Extreme weather events endanger the health of the Austrian population as direct effects. Most significant are Heat waves. Study says number of heat days will double by mid-century. More frequent heat waves coincide with an older society, which has a ten percent higher proportion of people over the age of 65. Due to the growing number of tropical nights with insufficient cooling, all these developments lead to greatly increased health risks, especially in densely built-up areas. This particularly affects elderly people, children, patients with cardiovascular diseases and mental illnesses, and people with reduced mobility.
Other extreme events, such as Storms, floods or mudflows, lead to numerically smaller physical damage as a direct consequence, but in the areas of nutrition or mobility. However, an increase in psychological trauma due to material damage is expected, according to the report. The increase in extreme precipitation, prolonged drought or more violent storms also cause high economic costs, for example, due to flood damage or crop failures.
In the wake of climate change, researchers also expect increased Pollen load, Especially from ragweed (ragweed, ragweed). Already today, around twenty percent of Austrians are affected by allergic diseases. If Austria follows the European trend, this could become fifty percent in the next ten years.
Climate change favors the settlement or spread of various arthropods, such as Ticks and mosquitoes. Some can transmit diseases. In the future, we will also find subtropical. Tropical mosquito species (z.B.B. tiger mosquito and bush mosquito) have better survival conditions in this country and require monitoring of their spread and diseases.
Living healthier while protecting the climate
"Once we recognize the impact of climate change on all areas of our lives, we can succeed in identifying appropriate measures at the political, economic and scientific levels, as well as making it clear how each and every one of us can be supported in living a climate-friendly life," explains Willi Haas from the Institute of Social Ecology at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, and central author of the study.
In addition to mitigating climate impacts on health, the authors also recommend strengthening climate-specific health literacy among health workers and the public. Behavioral changes z.B. in the areas of nutrition or mobility have a positive effect on both the climate and health. Among the possibilities are:
– Balanced diet Following the food pyramid (see healthy eating) with more regional, seasonal and high-quality foods. Use of public transportation. More active mobility (z.B.B. by bicycle or on foot), a switch to electromobility, car sharing instead of motorized private transport. – Healthy, climate-friendly Living, u.a.