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Danish presidency event on health and climate

The meeting brought together environmental and medical scientists from all over Europe. The panels addressed the important health impacts of climatic and environmental changes and prevention of related diseases.

Jo Leinen, Member of the European Parliament and former head of the environment committee, in his speech greeted that the draft 7th Environment Action Programme includes a strong chapter on environment and health which is supported by many Member States.

Specific actions to prevent impacts from climate change are needed to safeguard public health in Europe, said Danish Health Secretary of State Per Okkels. Effects of heat waves and extreme weather have to be limited, and preventive measures should target the spread of infectious diseases but also non-communicable diseases, such as cancers.

Later sessions of the conference focused on skin cancer prevention through improvements in monitoring and compulsory registries for skin cancer incidents across Europe.

In the afternoon, Crown Princess Mary together with Danish ministers opened the conjoint exhibition at the opera in which various groups demonstrated preventive actions that the individual can undertake. A group of researchers from the Copenhagen University illustrated health impacts from particulate matter emissions originating from traffic. Other exhibitors provided a self-test for UV sensitivity and skin damage from past exposure.

HEAL staff participated in discussions throughout the conference and talked to the Danish health minister as well as the Secretary of State. With a roll-up poster reading ‘What is good for climate is good for health and the economy’ HEAL conveyed the message that climate action is an indispensable part of prevention. Many specimens of our co-benefits report were taken by conference participants.

Other actors seem to have adopted the same analysis as HEAL on the benefits for health of strong climate policy. At the conference the European Policy Centre, a Brussels think tank and one of the conveners of the conference, published a commentary highlighting the health benefits of green growth. The commentary entitled “Ignorance ain’t bliss: it’s time to recognize the impact of the environment and climate on health” can be downloaded here. An article by EPC on their report published in Public Service Review mentions HEAL’s report findings (see Media coverage).


© Andreas Bergmann Steen / LEO Pharma Caption: Danish health minister Astrid Krag gave examples why tackling climate change will benefit our health


Originally posted on 10 May 2012

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The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) is a leading European not-for-profit organisation addressing how the environment affects health in the European Union (EU). We demonstrate how policy changes can help protect health and enhance people’s quality of life. Read more »


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