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Climate Change a core topic at the World Health Summit

10/26/2011 - What are the consequences of climate change for public health? The World Health Summit made this question, rather neglected in public debate, one of its core topics this week. This was a cooperation with the German Federal Foreign Office and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK): research domain leader Wolfgang Lucht was one of the two keynote speakers.
Climate Change a core topic at the World Health Summit

Mosquitos, feared to be carriers of Malaria, are spreading - the disease, however, can very well be confined, according to a study. This is one of the topics of medical research. Photo: thinkstock

“The severe consequences of climate change for public health are often underestimated,” explains Lucht. Therefore, it is “of considerable importance to have experts of both climate and medical research meet.” Heat waves, floods, droughts “will occur more frequently under unabated climate change – often accompanied by the risk of epidemics and insufficient supply of food,” according to Lucht. In addition, changing climate zones and patterns could influence the spread of pathogens or their carriers. Medical progress combats such developments – but measures for climate protection can bring health benefits as well. “On a greenhouse-planet earth, the hazard potential would be significantly higher,” says Lucht. “This can still be avoided.”

The World Health Summit is a conference of twelve worldwide leading medical institutions - among them Imperial College London, the Paris Sorbonne, and the Chinese Academy for Medical Sciences. This year, it takes place at the Berlin Charité. Among the 1200 participants from 80 nations are many scientists but also, for example, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh and the German Federal Minister of Research. Tony McMichael of the Australian National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, one of the prominent speakers, is giving another lecture at PIK on Wednesday.

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