Heatwaves in Germany are threatening human health

As global temperatures rise, the dangers from heatwaves — periods when an area’s temperature elevates abnormally compared with the standard — are also rising.

Heatwaves now occur more repeatedly and are more severe than in the past. This is one of the most underappreciated threats of climate change.

Germany has put heat plans to its action to deal with intensifying heatwaves linked to climate change and threatening public health.

In June 2021, the first heatwave of the year temporarily made Germany the hottest nation in Europe.

Germany heatwaves

In response to the recent extreme temperatures and deaths during previous heatwaves.

Health Minister Jens Spahn has admitted the necessity for additional funds, which he termed as climate budget. A climate budget needs to meet health requirements arising from climate change.

Previous heatwaves:

There is insufficient data on heat-related mortality in Germany. But during each of the previous heat waves – in 2003, 2006, and 2015, more than 6,000 deaths relates to heat.

Intense heat exposure is a serious health risk. It can cause heat rash, cramps, heat exhaustion, or heat stroke, which can be disastrous or have lifelong consequences.

Heat more likely implicates those with pre-existing conditions and weaknesses. Most deaths that occur during heat waves relate to heat-related rather than exclusively the result of heat.

Some factions, such as older people or people with cardio-vascular illnesses are much more prone to death or illness.

Read more: Climate risk country profile: Congo, Democratic Republic

The extreme weather spells Germany experienced in recent years have functioned as a wake-up call for many people in the country, to amp up their personal emissions reduction efforts.

Germany has some encouraging developments and master projects for heat adaptation.

The Environment Minister, Svenja Schulze, recently announced the July launch of a consultation center to support communities in their efforts to adapt to climate change.

Schulze also said that more financial and legal work plans would be required for useful climate adaptation.

In June, the Health Ministry and the Federal Center for Health Education (BZgA) created a website devoted to climate change and health, including heatwave advice and warnings.

The government also must mitigate climate change by effectively decreasing greenhouse gas emissions. It should comply with the judgment of the German Constitutional Court by modifying its emission reduction targets.

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