Heat stress, increased UV exposure of workers who regularly work outdoors, dehydration, increased exposure to particulate matter or new allergies, and psychological stress are just some of the immediate effects to which the social insurance system must respond with new prevention, treatment and care measures. We also have to keep an eye on the new technologies that are to be introduced as part of the energy transition and an emerging circular economy. They lead to new job profiles, thus to adjustments in occupational safety and health. The economic burdens of these crises must be fairly distributed within and between generations.
The social insurance system must prepare for these changes. This requires not only resilient and sustainable structures in social insurance systems, but also new strategies to protect the health of the insured and prevent the decline in labour productivity. Overall, protection against the effects of climate change is nevertheless a task for society as a whole.
The European Union (EU) has also taken up this task and has put combating the climate crisis as one of its priorities on its political agenda. With the European Green Deal, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen already presented a concept on 11 December 2019 that aims to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions in the EU to zero by 2050. Europe should thus become the first climate-neutral continent. This also raises the question of how successful protection of citizens from the impacts of climate change can be designed in the context of effective social welfare schemes. In addition to recommendations to Member States to mitigate or compensate for the measures towards a just transition to climate neutrality, Brussels has also proposed various laws to reduce the immediate health impacts on citizens.
Solutions for a just and safe transition to climate neutrality must therefore be found and interlinked at all levels.
How we can collectively meet the challenges posed by climate change and climate action, and what role the EU can contribute is discussed in our current edition of the ed* magazine.
We hope you enjoy reading it!
Yours sincerely Ilka Wölﬂe