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‘Climate Change: Health Effects in the UK’ Report Published by the UK Health Security Agency

This report is the fourth Health Effects of Climate Change in the UK report, which provides evidence, analysis and recommendations based on climate change projections for the UK.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) Health Effects of Climate Change (HECC) report, has been published on 11 December, 2023.

The report draws together the latest evidence on how our changing climate is already impacting the nation’s health and publishes future projections, based on a plausible worst case scenario.

It is the first report of its kind produced since 2012. It demonstrates how the evidence base on the health effects of climate change has grown significantly, with health threats from heat, mosquitos, flooding and food security becoming more significant in the near future.

The report contains 15 chapters written and peer-reviewed by a wide range of experts from academia, industry and government, providing detailed analysis on climate change issues that will inform further research, public health practice and policy decisions going forward.

This report examines the future relationship between temperature and mortality in climate change. Using a high-emissions scenario, it states that UK-heat related deaths are estimated to increase by one and a half times in the 2030s and by 12 times by 2070.

Dr Lea Berrang Ford, Head of Centre for Climate and Health Security at UKHSA, said:

“The evidence is clear – climate change is not solely a future health threat. Health impacts are already being felt domestically and globally, and these risks will accelerate.

Temperatures will likely continue to increase until at least mid-century, irrespective of the amount by which we decarbonise in the decades to come.

The health decisions we make today will determine the severity and extent of climate impacts inherited by today’s youth and their children.”

Professor Isabel Oliver, Chief Scientific Officer at UKHSA, said:

“This report starkly demonstrates the impact that climate change could have on our society if we do not take decisive action. We can expect major impacts on physical and mental health, while our changing climate will also exacerbate existing health inequalities.

In the UK, many of the anticipated adverse impacts on health are still avoidable through mitigation measures, while others are preventable if the necessary adaptation measures are introduced. Therefore it is critical that the evidence in this report is used to inform policy and action.

The changing climate will be the backdrop upon which our government and health and social care organisations will need to secure the health of individuals and communities in this century, so it is vital that together we focus and accelerate our efforts on these mitigation and adaptation measures.”

The report sets out that the greatest opportunity for health in the context of climate change comes from the potential to align health goals with the UK’s decarbonisation agenda.

If these health goals are embedded in decarbonisation strategies, there is the potential to generate a range of health benefits, particularly through air quality, food, housing and transport.

The UKHSA HECC report also sets out where the UK currently stands in terms of reaching its targets, and what needs to be considered in the years to come in order to continue on that pathway.

HECC Webinar Launch:

To mark the launch of the report, UKHSA will be hosting a webinar for interested stakeholders on 13 December, from 10:00 – 11:00.

Key findings of the report will be presented, with time for Q&A at the end.

Hear from:

  • Jenny Harries, Chief Executive, UKHSA
  • Isabel Oliver, Chief Scientific Officer, UKHSA
  • Lea Berrang Ford, Head of Centre for Climate and Health Security, UKHSA
  • Caroline Tomes, Consultant in Public Health, UKHSA

If you are interested in attending this webinar, please register to join the UKHSA HECC report launch webinar on 13 December, 2023.

You will be able to join the webinar at 10:00 on the 13th via this link (Teams Live).

UK Health Security Agency

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