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Minister Harris publishes the first Climate Change Adaptation Plan for the Health Sector

Minister for Health Simon Harris TD has today published the first Climate Change Adaptation Plan for the health sector (2019 – 2024).

The plan was developed by a joint Department-HSE team of officials and doctors following a public consultation. The plan identified six main climate scenarios with the most profound health implications. Two of the six scenarios relate to slow onset climate effects over time (UV radiation and air pollution) and four scenarios concern acute, severe weather events (windstorms, extreme heat and heatwaves, high precipitation and flooding, and extreme cold snaps).

Following the publication of the plan, Minister Harris said;

Without decisive adaptation action, climate change will have profound impacts on the health and well-being of our people, on the smooth delivery of our health and social care services, and on our critical infrastructure.

Crucially, the health effects of climate change will be felt particularly by our most vulnerable citizens, including the elderly, children, those with pre-existing conditions, the urban poor, farmers and those living in coastal areas.

Clearly, many of the negative health impacts of climate change originate in other sectors, and continuing strong cross-government collaboration will be required to effectively address these.


The Minister announced a Climate Change Oversight Group will be established for the health sector. Its role will be to drive and oversee implementation of the plan; will closely collaborate with relevant stakeholders in the health sector; and will monitor and review progress, including any unintended consequences that may arise.

Minister Harris added:

I am establishing a Climate Change Oversight Group for the health sector, led by the Department of Health. This new group will oversee implementation of the actions set out in the plan, and will adopt an inclusive and collaborative approach to addressing the health impacts of climate change.