Climate Protections & Health: Ensuring and Faciliating Environmental and Living Quality

Background and Goals

Living quality is closely tied to the protection of people’s health and climate. Between both municipal fields of actions: From higher-level clean air planning to concrete measures to reduce particulate matter levels, to prevent the spread of hazardous species or to prevent heat stress, there are numerous options for protecting human health while at the same time strengthening climate protection. 

Six text contributions and excursus with various approaches and projects from the municipal practice are presented, which protect the climate and equally the health of the people. The reasons that make municipalities active in climate protection are very different. In general, it is not about to protect the climate end in itself, but rather about working hand in hand with other activities. Many overlaps arise with the field of action health. The integration of the two topics contributes to a high quality of life for the people. This includes, for example, reducing the emission of air pollutants, reducing the impact of road noise or counteracting the effects of climate change, such as preventing heat-related physical restrictions and curbing the spread of allergy-causing plant and animal species.

Presented projects and initiatives are to be understood as impulses for practical approaches and exemplary approaches to reflect on whether and, if so, how the procedures can be transferred to the individual context of the local community. The issue booklet intends to provide impulses on how topics such as as climate protection and health can go hand in hand and make a contribution to a high quality of life for people, because climate protection is health protection.

Content time

Research area/region

  • Germany

Steps in the process of adaptation to climate change

Step 1: Understand and describe climate change

Approach and results 


  • Direct consequences of climate change: people that are often and periodically exposed by high temperatures are at higher risk to be contracted due to heat
  • Indirect effects of climate change: Climatic changes can cause the population to be at higher risk of allergies. The increasingly warmer climate favors heat-loving species, so that there is an altered species composition in the latitude
  • In order to reduce the appearance various activities in municipals are needed. Next to the maintenance of green spaces and the removal of plants, informing the public is important. Especially private garden owners are at higher risk and at the same time can contribute to the reduce the ambrosia occurrence
Parameter (climate signals)
  • Heat waves
  • Extreme precipitation (incl. hail, snow)

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

Approach and results 


  • Various population groups react differently to the air pollution. Especially vulnerable groups are children, seniors and human with permanent affected immune system. People with higher exposure are at higher risk to be contracted. Breathing in particulate matters can irritate the respiratory tract and lead to acute and chronic diseases in more frequent or prolonged stress
  • Various scientific studies have shown that there is a correlation between air pollutants and theimpairment of the cardiovascular system
  • Estimates show that in Germany, between 2007 and 2015, an average of almost 45,000 premature deaths per year are due to particulate matter – meaning the degree of endangerment a person can derive from the frequency and intensity of particulate matter to which he is exposed to
  • Climatic changes are a risk for the human health. These can be differentiated between direct and indirect changes through climatic changes

Heat periods


  • Health burdens on older people, persons with pre-existing conditions and infants on prolonged periods with temperatures above 30 ° COn the one hand, the temperature in the densely built-up city center can be up to ten degrees Celsius higher than in the surrounding area.

Heavy rain events

  • Demand dead and injured and mental stress by loss of personal belongings or house by extreme precipitation

 Research program KLIMOPASS

  • 2-year funding project in the city of Karlsruhe
  • Control strategy against impairment of Ambrosia through involvement of the population
  • Result of control shows that ragout and scalding of ragweed species are similarly successful
  • But constant or very long continuation of control measures needed

Step 3: Develop and compare measures

Measures and/or strategies 


  • Heat Action Plans
  • Prevent heat and, to the extent possible with the same measures, UV and UV exposure to prevent heat and UV related illnesses and possible deaths

Step 4: Plan and implement measures

Measures and/or strategies 


  • Fine Dust Alarm
  • In order to reduce the air pollution, the particulate matter alarm measure was introduced nationwide in 2016. Fine dust alarm is triggered as soon as the German Weather Service forecasts a severely limited exchange capacity of the atmosphere on at least two consecutive days.
  • Because of the voluntary nature of the population to respond to particulate matter alarm, the success is limited as expected.

EU funding

  • ILE = Integrated Rural Development

Integrated Rural Development Concept (ILEK)

  • strategic development in rural areas in regional development

Noise reduction planning Norderstedt

  • noise action plan with at least 91 measures to reduce noise in the areas of promoting cycling, reduction of driving speeds, fitted noise-reducing road surfaces, reduction of vehicle traffic by shifting the modal split, measures to promote public transport, passive / active measures for soundproofing
  • In Norderstedt no human should be exposed to harmful noise pollution of 65 dB (A) or more.
  • In the residential areas of Norderstedt, all people will be protected from nocturnal noise pollution above 45 dB (A)
  • In order to protect the quality of outdoor living, maximum noise pollution of 55 dB (A) is sought in all residential and recreational areas


Funding / Financing 

Funded by project “ClimatePractice” (KlimaPraxis) of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) based on a decision of the German Parliament under the National Climate Initiative (NKI) 

Project management 

German Institute of Urban Affairs (Difu)

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Fields of action:
 human health  transport, transport infrastructure  cross sectoral  other