Taking care of health, well-being and environmental quality

Climate change affects health and quality of life but it doesn’t affect everyone in the same way. Factors such as physical condition, health, age, gender, socio-economic situation or the environmental conditions where we live and work determine the possible degree to which climate change affects people. In fact, it is believed that the climate crisis is the biggest threat to health this century. Sustained, excessive heat leads to an increase in mortality and morbidity, especially among the most vulnerable groups of human beings, but also the rest of the natural world. Between 1992 and 2015, it is estimated there were 980 deaths among men and 2,729 among women (natural deaths of people aged 25 and over) that were attributable to extreme heat, generally fragile older people.

To reduce the vulnerability of people to climate change, we need to work on ensuring the continuity of services and universal access to basic supplies, guaranteeing thermal comfort both inside buildings (housing, facilities, etc.) and public spaces, as well as improving and adapting the services to dependent persons.

We need to advance towards becoming a healthy city that ensures the health and well-being of its citizens. A socially just city that reduces inequalities. And a habitable, comfortable city with quality public spaces.

Most important challenges

  • Reducing the vulnerability of people to the climate crisis, understood to mean those situations that mean some people adapt less to their effects, either because of their socio-economic situation (family income, housing conditions, doing demanding physical activities outdoors), characteristics (gender, age, solitude) or health (people with limited autonomy, chronic diseases, etc...
  • Cutting NOX and PM emissions, the main local pollutants which directly affect the population of Barcelona and the surrounding area.
  • Reducing vulnerability and energy poverty.
  • Improving thermal and acoustic comfort in the city: in homes, sensitive facilities and public spaces.
  • Improving our knowledge of the impact climate change has on health, as well as social and gender inequalities.
  • Preventing and controlling possible alterations in the geographical and seasonal distribution of vectors (mosquitoes and others) and the diseases they can transmit.

Key actions and actors

Reducing pollutant emissions

  • Roll out the low emission zone, monitoring the stages envisaged and applying the necessary adjustments.
    • Barcelona City Council, AMB
  • Study the implementation of supplementary measures for reducing the environmental impact of private motor vehicles, for example: managing parking, ultra-low emission zones, a toxicity toll, etc.
    • Barcelona City Council

Improving the conditions the population faces in extreme climate episodes

  • Activate 100 municipal facilities (30 of them educational facilities) to act as climate shelters in the event of an extreme climate emergency (expand the hours, equip them, ensure accessibility, inform people, design the website, etc.) and have a reference facility in each district.
    • Barcelona City Council
  • Have a space for water games in a public space in each district.
    • Barcelona City Council
  • Make the current energy advice points climate advice points (offering advice on green roofs, low-carbon eating, etc.) that can also continue to guarantee the basic services of people in a vulnerable situation.
    • Barcelona City Council
  • Improve the thermal comfort of 40 state-run schools (Education Consortium), 4 municipal homes for older people and 2 early care centres for children with a disability Increase resilience to changes in the power supply to health, public health and social facilities.
    • Barcelona City Council, Education Consortium, Government of Catalonia,, Bcn Health Consortium
  • Review the emergency protocol activation criteria for heat waves, incorporating a variable for night-time temperatures.
    • Government of Catalonia

Protecting the most vulnerable population

  • Generate knowledge about the different impact of the climate crisis on women and Barcelona’s most vulnerable groups, such as those on low incomes, migrants and refugees.
    • Barcelona City Council
  • Create at least 10 superblocks that integrate care and which are geared towards providing a comprehensive care service for dependent persons, with local homecare service teams.
    • Barcelona City Council
  • Boost the public health facilities at climatically exceptional moments
    • Government of Catalonia
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