Climate change and health | Anses - Agence nationale de sécurité sanitaire de l’alimentation, de l’environnement et du travail

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French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety

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Updated on 30/05/2018

Climate change and health

Assessment of the risks associated with climate change

Keywords : Climate change

Climate change is a reality on which there is broad consensus in the scientific community. Because of the inertia of the climate system, changes to the climate related to human activities will continue for many years, regardless of any measures taken today. Combating climate change, which is part of a more global environmental change, is therefore essential to limit its magnitude.

The relationship between climate change and health has been studied for several years now.

In a report published in 2016, for example, the World Health Organization (WHO) stated that the health effects of climate change could already be estimated in terms of numbers of deaths and years of life lost, and would affect all population categories.

Climate change and animal health

Is there a risk that global warming could cause the emergence or development of animal diseases?

After being asked to investigate this issue by the Ministry of Agriculture, the Agency sought to identify any animal diseases, particularly those that can be transmitted to humans, whose development in metropolitan France over the next few years could be affected by a warming climate, and to rank them according to the potential risks to public health and the livestock economy, and also according to the degree of probability of their occurrence. Six diseases to be closely monitored were thus identified, and are detailed in a report by the Agency on the consequences of climate change on animal diseases.

Climate change and worker health

Knowledge in climatology now enables precise projections to be made about the future climate. On the other hand, the mechanisms by which the changes to the climate or environment are affecting, or may affect, human health, either for the general population or for workers, are still poorly documented.

In April 2018, ANSES published a report on its assessment of the risks induced by climate change on worker health (in French), in which it showed that, with the exception of risks associated with noise and artificial radiation, all occupational risks are and will be affected by climate change and environmental changes.

Climate change and plant health

Climate change is also part of a greater concept of global change, which includes other worldwide phenomena, the consequences of social change and development, such as greater levels of trade and evolving production and consumption systems.

As a consequence, the movement of plants for commercial or non-commercial purposes, regardless of the mode of transport, facilitates the circulation of pests and diseases.
ANSES has been asked to examine several issues reflecting the proven risk of climate change on plant health, for example on pine processionary caterpillars and on Xylosandrus compactus, which is known to prefer tropical trees.

In April 2018, along with the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization (EPPO), ANSES organised an international conference on the impact of global change on the emergence of plant diseases and pests in Europe.