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Doctors warn: Climate change poses health risks

Doctors warn: Climate change poses health risks

Doctors warn
Climate change leads to health risks

Heat stroke, heart attack, kidney failure – these are just a few clinical pictures directly related to weather events. Doctors complain that this contact has not yet been sufficiently made.

At the start of the World Climate Conference in Glasgow, the German medical community called for a closer look at the health effects of climate change. In Germany, too, “extreme weather events” such as torrential rain and heat waves are becoming more common, said the president of the German Medical Association, Klaus Reinhardt, of the German news agency. He cited, for example, the consequences of the summer flood disaster, in which more than 180 people died in the Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia.

“But heat stress and high ozone concentrations near the ground can also have serious consequences for human health.” These included stroke, heart attack, and acute kidney failure due to lack of fluid. The elderly, infants, patients with chronic diseases, and people who perform heavy physical work outdoors are most at risk.

Compliance with climate protection goals is required

“In addition to complying with the Paris climate protection goals, immediate measures are necessary to prepare the health care system to meet the new challenges,” Reinhardt demanded. In clinics and rescue centers, staff and rooms are needed for severe weather events. A national heat protection plan and specific guidelines for clinics, emergency and rescue services, and care facilities are essential.

The German Medical Congress will also address the health consequences of climate change this Tuesday. “According to professional law, physicians are not only obligated to their patients directly, but also to the health of the entire population,” Reinhardt said. “We want to fulfill that commitment with this theme.”

The climate conference begins on Sunday. Representatives from nearly 200 countries want to discuss further implementation of the Paris Climate Protection Agreement by November 12. The 2015 agreement mandates that contracting nations reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to the point that global warming remains well below 2 degrees, if possible 1.5 degrees, than in the pre-industrial era.