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Adaptation to climate change

Climate plays a significant role in people’s health. Global warming and particularly the associated increase of heat waves and other extreme weather events affect our living and housing conditions. To avoid far-reaching consequences for the environment and health, the German Federal Government wants both to advance the implementation of climate protection measures and to adopt precautionary measures in practice. In order to avert dangers to the public and natural habitats, the German Federal Government developed the German Strategy for Adaptation to Climate Change (DAS).
Climate change mitigation strategies in the housing sector can yield both immediate health gains and long-term mitigation objectives, as long as the choice of measures to be adopted explicitly considers potential health benefits and risks. Health inequalities can be addressed by deploying low-carbon climate change mitigation measures adapted to slums and other poor communities. Implementation of climate change mitigation measures should consider occupational health risks and relevant exposures of workers engaged in construction or retrofits of homes. Home occupant behaviour should also be considered, as it influences the effectiveness of certain mitigation measures and impacts on health (e.g. regulation of indoor temperature and ventilation).
Findings of the WHO-report “Health in the green economy - Housing Sector” reflect an urgent need for including health into housing policies, for example in improved building standards and in the enforcement of housing codes.