cCASHh - Climate Change and Adaptation Strategies for Human Health in Europe

Background and Goals

In the coming decades, the global climate change will also have effects on the health of the population in Europe. Adaptation strategies can minimize the potential health impacts of the climate change and be a cost-effective help in reducing the negative effects on health. The project will consider the impact assessments and adaptation options for the following four climate-dependent areas of human health:

  1. Health effects of heat and cold,?
  2. Health effects of extreme weather events,
  3. Infectious diseases transmitted by insects and ticks and
  4. Infectious diseases transmitted through water or food.

Objectives of the project

  1. The identification of the vulnerability of human health with regard to the adverse effects of climate change,
  2. The examination of the current measures, techniques, policies, and barriers for improving the capacity of adaptation to climate change,
  3. The identification of appropriate and effective measures, techniques and policies for the successful adaptation to climate change for the population of Europe,
  4. The assessment of the benefits of specific strategies or combinations of strategy adjustment of vulnerable population groups, taking into account different climate change scenarios and
  5. An estimate of the costs and benefits of climate-change-related effects and adaptation measures including co-benefits independent of the climate change.

Content time


Research area/region

  • Germany
  • Europe
Region of implementation (all German federal states)
  • Baden-Württemberg
  • Bavaria
  • Berlin
  • Brandenburg
  • Bremen
  • Hamburg
  • Hesse
  • Mecklenburg Western Pomerania
  • Lower Saxony
  • Northrhine-Westphalia
  • Rhineland Palatinate
  • Saarland
  • Saxony
  • Saxony-Anhalt
  • Schleswig-Holstein
  • Thuringia

Steps in the process of adaptation to climate change

Step 1: Understand and describe climate change

Approach and results 

The basis of the project are the emission scenarios and climate projections of the 3rd Assessment Report of the IPCC in 2001.

Parameter (climate signals)
  • Heat waves
  • Higher average temperatures
  • Extreme precipitation (incl. hail, snow)

Step 2a: Identify and assess risks - climate effects and impact

Approach and results 

The exposure of the population to weather and climate conditions is particularly pronounced in the following four cases:

  1. Long-term changes in mean temperature and other climate averages, which need to be seen over a period of decades or longer,
  2. Inter-annual climatic variability,
  3. Short-term variability, to which monthly, weekly, or daily meteorological changes belong,
  4. Individual extreme events, such as temperature or precipitation extremes with resulting flood events.

Step 2b: Identify and assess risks - Vulnerability, risks and chances

Approach and results 

Assessment of the future, climate-related vulnerability of natural and socio-economic systems. At the European level, it is recognised that it is necessary to reduce vulnerability and increase resilience. The assessment of the vulnerability of human health with regard to the climate change is a key aspect. Assessment of the adaptive capacity of the population and the possibilities of increasing it. To this end, the existing policies are analysed and the barriers to implementing them.

Step 3: Develop and compare measures

Measures and/or strategies 

The project will particularly identify legal, political and institutional measures that are needed for maintaining and improving the health status of the population and serve the purpose of adapting to future climate change impacts.Such adaptation measures are needed on an individual and private level as much as on a national and international level. The following aspects are considered:

1. Presentation of the conceptual framework for adaptation to climate change in public health

2. Identification of vulnerable areas and population groups on the basis of empirical adaptation studies and case studies;

3. Consolidation of the principles and conditions for adaptation with integrated assessment models

Time horizon
  • 2071–2100 (far future)

Step 4: Plan and implement measures

Costs of the measures 

Evaluation of adaptation measures by estimating their costs and benefits.


Funding / Financing 

funding under the EU's 5th Framework Programme for Research

Project management 

World Health Organization, Regional Office for Europe, European Centre for Environment and Health, Global change and health programme


German Meteorological Service (DWD) and Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)


WHO - World Health Organization: European Centre for Environment and Health, Rome Division
Via Francesco Crispi 10
I-00187 Rom

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Fields of action:
 human health and care