Joint press release by the German Environment Agency, the Federal Office for Radiation Protection, the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation and the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection

Federal Environment Ministry supports preventive health measures in the climate crisis

That's good against heat: a cooling water bagClick to enlarge
That's good against heat: a cooling water bag
Source: Miredi /

Today and tomorrow, on World Environment Day, the German Environment Ministry (BMUV), together with the German Environment Agency (UBA), the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) and the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN), will be providing comprehensive information on the health risks and protective measures related to the climate crisis at the Environment Week in the park of the Federal President’s official residence (Schloss Bellevue) in Berlin. At the same time, the German Medical Association (BÄK) and the German Alliance for Climate Change and Health (KLUG) are organising a nationwide heat action day on 5 June.

Federal Minister for the Environment Steffi Lemke commented: “The health effects of the climate crisis are already being felt all over the world. Here in Germany and Europe, prolonged heatwaves with record temperatures and sunshine in recent years have once again underscored the critical importance of preparing for and mitigating the consequences of the climate crisis. In addition to natural climate protection measures⁠, which reduce and store carbon emissions, it is therefore increasingly important to address the health risks of the climate crisis and take systematic precautions. The Federal Environment Ministry is continuing to strengthen the environmental policy framework through initiatives such as the Federal Climate Adaptation Act. Additionally, it provides comprehensive information to the public on protecting themselves from the health risks of the climate crisis, including heat, UV radiation, ozone, pollen, and animal-borne pathogens.”

 “Heat action plans are a central adaptation measures in response to the health consequences of climate change”, explains UBA President Dirk Messner. The recommendations for the creation of such plans published in 2017 were evaluated in a project funded by the UBA and assessed in terms of perception and effectiveness. “According to the survey, heat action plans are known and accepted nationwide and are regarded as helpful by local authorities,” says Messner. However, he added that it is also important to focus on other health consequences of climate change. For example, change not only affects physical health, but also mental health. “As part of a research project to be completed in July, we will report on the psychological effects of climate change on the German population and also present a resilience guide.”

BfS President Inge Paulini: “Due to climate change, people in Germany are not only exposed to higher temperatures, but also to higher levels of UV radiation – the main cause of skin cancer. Protection against heat and UV exposure are therefore key aspects of current and future climate adaptation measures. Local authorities, daycare centres, schools, associations and citizens can find comprehensive information material on protection against UV exposure on the BfS website.”

The motto for World Environment Day 2024 in Germany is “Taking natural precautions: safety and protection in the climate crisis”. In order to minimise the negative consequences of the climate crisis for human health, emissions of climate-damaging gases must be reduced as much as possible. In addition, it is necessary to implement adaptation measures so that the effects that can no longer be prevented cause as little damage as possible. The Federal Government therefore adopted the German Adaptation Strategy to Climate Change (DAS⁠) in 2008 and has been continuously developing it ever since. The Climate Adaptation Act, which will come into force on 1 July 2024, provides a binding framework for this. On this basis, the Federal Government is currently developing the precautionary climate adaptation strategy with measurable targets outlined in the Federal Climate Adaptation Act. The adoption of this strategy is planned for the end of 2024. One focus of action is health protection.

The series of guides published by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (“Healthy management of climate change”) provides information on how to protect yourself from the health effects of the climate crisis. It covers the following topics: “Tips for hot days” ( ), “Protection against infectious diseases caused by ticks, mosquitoes and rodents” ( ), “Danger in the air: pollen allergies” ( ). All guides are available to download from the BMUV website and can also be ordered free of charge as a printed brochure in Pixi booklet format.

With the funding guidelines “Climate adaptation in social institutions” and “Measures to adapt to the consequences of climate change”, the BMUV also provides financial support for precautionary adaptation to the consequences of the climate crisis. In addition, the Centre for Climate Adaptation advises local authorities in particular on behalf of the BMUV on what measures should be taken to protect against the consequences of the climate crisis. As part of the Natural Climate Protection Action Programme (ANK), the BMUV supports local authorities via the KfW⁠ with tree planting, the establishment of near-natural parks and the creation of natural oases.

Umweltbundesamt Headquarters

Wörlitzer Platz 1
06844 Dessau-Roßlau

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 health  climate change  Heat waves  Adaptation