Health and climate change: The effectiveness of extreme heat initiatives

Himmel mit Sonne

Exceptionally hot summers, such as the summer of 2018, may become more frequent due to climate change – including in Germany. Extreme and prolonged heat events will have a significant impact on human health and also provide a challenge for health care. There is a need for targeted health measures in order to adapt to these changing conditions and protect people from possible risks and dangers. For this reason, a federal-state working group created in 2018 has come up with recommendations for the development of heat action plans. These are meant to help states and municipalities respond to the crisis. The recommendations include both immediate measures to be implemented during an acute heat wave, as well as long-term efforts.

Have states and municipalities taken this advice and to what extent? What actions have already been taken to avoid the health risks caused by heat? In this project, adelphi will explore these questions on behalf of the Federal Environment Agency (UBA) and examine the effectiveness of the recommendations as well as concrete plans and initiatives. Working with the Fulda University of Applied Sciences, adelphi is analysing the links between the recommendations, heat action plans and heat prevention measures, and how to best adapt to extreme heat in Germany. The project will also take note of the existence and quality of adaptation services for heat stress (databases, tools, materials that support the implementation of adaptation measures).

adelphi is conducting a large-scale online survey of relevant actors and institutions in federal states, counties and municipalities to determine the current status of implementation of heat prevention measures and identify gaps and needs for action. A series of expert interviews and in-depth case studies will complement the study.