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is needed in the EU: incorporating transdisciplinary processes, dialogue and collaboration to develop sustainable dietary guidelines. At the same time, research and development opportunities for meat substitutes53 as innovative foods and other ‘future’ foods (e.g. from insects, algae and seaweed (Parodi et al. 2018)) are worth pursuing, alongside clarification of the associated socio-political and regulatory challenges (Stephens et al. 2018). A recent summary from the European Parliamentary Research Service (Kurrer and Lawrie 2018) discusses how laboratory/bioreactor-grown meat, using stem cell technology, is biologically similar to conventional meat but with greatly reduced environmental impact (a claim that is also made for other alternatives to current animal-source foods (Parodi et al. 2018)), potentially helping to meet EU targets for cutting GHG emissions. However a recent paper suggests that the energy requirements for cultured meat are high and if the energy is provided by fossil fuels the GHG emissions from cultured meat can exceed those from cattle over time because of the long atmospheric residence time of CO2 compared with methane (https://www.frontiersin. org/articles/10.3389/fsufs.2019.00005/full). Thus if cultured meat becomes a scaleable option energy will need to be provided from renewable sources which

may be become challenging if consumption increases dramatically. The cost of production has been falling and it may become a viable commercial product. As the European Parliamentary Research Service observed, the food value of laboratory-grown meat could be controlled to optimise nutritional content for consumer health, it would not require the use of antibiotics (another potential health benefit) and it might reduce the spread of food-borne pathogens such as E. coli and Salmonella. However, major changes in food production and consumption would have a significant effect on agricultural communities and have implications for EU policy to promote rural diversity. There is more for the EU to do in evaluating technologies now coming within range, and the implications for health and the environment. 4.6  Case study in adaptation: actions to tackle the increasing threat of infectious diseases What Europe cannot change, we must adapt to. Opportunities for adjustment to health systems as part of the broader adaptation responses to climate change have been exemplified during the discussion in sections 4.1 and 4.2; here we return to the previous work of EASAC on infectious diseases and the opportunities for improving preparedness and responsiveness.

Table 4.1  Update on previous EASAC work on climate change and infectious disease EASAC recommendation (2010)

Progress since 2010

Increased surveillance for vectors and hosts as well as pathogens, accompanied by interagency partnership for monitoring and investigation of outbreaks.

Significant progress has been made in the work of ECDC, including guidance to EU Member States. See discussion below.

Identifying research funding priorities and promoting integration of EU and Member State funding strategies and alignment with the global agenda. Among key general issues raised were the following. (1) Commitment to supporting fundamental research in advance of a crisis. (2) Skill development – preparing the next generation of researchers, for example in epidemiology, microbiology and entomology. (3) Modelling and simulation.

EU Horizon 2020 has been helpful (and plans for the latter part of Horizon 2020 provide increasing focus on issues for climate change and health)54. However, there is less evidence for integration between EU-national-global strategies. Particular scientific priorities identified by EASAC (e.g. basic research on the scientific characteristics of that probably small proportion of vectors with a high infectious load) still need more work.

Connecting research with innovation, particularly new drug development.

There is still a weak pipeline of anti-infective agents in the EU because of difficult business models and insufficient incentives for private sector research and development in this therapeutic area. There are opportunities for public– private partnership (e.g. building on significant progress in the Innovative Medicines Initiative). Continued

53  The work of the World Economic Forum has discussed commercial initiatives worldwide relating to cultured meat, plant-based meat surrogates and insect-based food and feed (P. Laudiana ‘How a new approach to meat can help hunger’, November 2018, on 54  Likely scope includes vector-borne diseases, water-borne diseases and implications of ‘high-end’ climate change scenarios. The need to do more to bring together the climate change and the health scientific communities is also being recognised. In addition to supporting particular priorities, there is general need for Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe to pursue the aim for the ‘internal market for knowledge’ where data and knowledge circulate freely.


Climate change and health  |  June 2019  |  39

The imperative of climate action to protect human health in Europe  

Opportunities for adaptation to reduce the impacts and for mitigation to capitalise on the benefits of decarbonisation. The pace and extent...

The imperative of climate action to protect human health in Europe  

Opportunities for adaptation to reduce the impacts and for mitigation to capitalise on the benefits of decarbonisation. The pace and extent...