Climate and health policy

'Climate mainstreaming: Breaking down the silos’ series

Policy Brief

10/02/2023

Climate change is a systemic issue that cannot be addressed by siloed thinking and policymaking. The transition to a political, social and economic model needs a holistic understanding to address the planetary emergencies and to implement the commitments of the EU Climate Law. By holistic, we mean a theoretical ground aware of interdependencies between different policy fields.

Transforming societies and economies while respecting sustainability principles means mainstreaming environmental concerns whenever we design policies for all other areas. At the same time, like the effects of climate change, also environmental policies can affect different areas, such as gender and health.

The ‘Climate mainstreaming: Breaking down the silos’ series comprises four policy briefs that foreground and disentangle these interlinkages by connecting climate matters with different disciplinary backgrounds (justice, gender, digital and health).

The objective is to influence and assist progressive policymakers and stakeholders who want to adopt holistic, comprehensive and environmentally sustainable policies that can remedy rather than exacerbate existing inequalities. 

Health policies

This research showcases potential pitfalls when climate policy does not consider health, and when health policy does not take into account interactions with climate change. It also demonstrates that the interdependencies of climate and health create various opportunities.

The climate crisis constitutes the largest threat to public health in the 21st century, from which several climate-sensitive direct or indirect health risks emerge. It is noteworthy that the health impact of the climate crisis disproportionately falls on groups with lower socio-economic status, which generally have lower adaptation capacities.

There is, however, a huge potential for health policy to contribute to climate change mitigation and for climate policy to reduce disease burden. Policymakers are becoming progressively aware of the link between health and climate. This nexus is further correlated with equality, which is understood as equal access to opportunities, good living conditions and healthcare.

This policy brief explores risks associated with acting in silos and thus neglecting the interactions between climate, health and inequality, but also looks for potential synergies when establishing a sound climate-health-inequality nexus. It further addresses the question as to where the barriers lie for successfully exploiting these synergies between health and climate policy fields.

Network
Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung
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