Climate change and human health: Impacts, vulnerability and public health

London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Keppel Street, WC1E 7HT London, UK.
Public Health (Impact Factor: 1.48). 08/2006; 120(7):585-96. DOI: 10.1016/j.puhe.2006.01.002
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT It is now widely accepted that climate change is occurring as a result of the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere arising from the combustion of fossil fuels. Climate change may affect health through a range of pathways, for example as a result of increased frequency and intensity of heat waves, reduction in cold related deaths, increased floods and droughts, changes in the distribution of vector-borne diseases and effects on the risk of disasters and malnutrition. The overall balance of effects on health is likely to be negative and populations in low-income countries are likely to be particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects. The experience of the 2003 heat wave in Europe shows that high-income countries may also be adversely affected. Adaptation to climate change requires public health strategies and improved surveillance. Mitigation of climate change by reducing the use of fossil fuels and increasing a number of uses of the renewable energy technologies should improve health in the near-term by reducing exposure to air pollution.

Download full-text


Available from: Andy Haines, Jan 14, 2015
  • Source
    • "Anticipated risks from heat waves include mainly indirect damage to residential buildings in form of health impacts caused by high indoor and outdoor temperatures due to increased solar radiation which can lead to deaths and considerable harmful health effects from heat stress and dehydration, or can more generally influence people's well-being negatively (Nikolowski et al., 2013; Guan, 2012). A demonstration of society's sensitivity to heat stress was seen in the summer of 2003 when a heat wave in Western Europe led to around 40,000 reported excess deaths, especially among the elderly share of the population (Haines et al., 2006). Due to climate change, heat waves of this sort are expected to be more commonly occurring, also in currently cold areas such as Scandinavia where there is a low preparedness to deal with these types of events (Coley et al., 2012). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Climate change is expected to intensify weather related risks affecting the existing building stock. To increase the understanding of how the capacity among individual house owners to mitigate such risks can be improved, this study analyses the compliance between anticipated climate risks and existing adaptation guidelines to house owners in Denmark, Norway and Sweden. The assessment of climate risks is based on a review of climate change and building research literature. The compilation of available guidelines is based on an assessment of information from government authorities, municipalities as well as insurance companies and organizations. Results reveal a high compliance between available guidelines and risks for already experienced weather risks, while somewhat new risks from anticipated climate change impacts are less covered. To better facilitate adaptive responses, further adaptation guidelines would earn from explicitly targeting house owners, as well as highlighting relationships between anticipated climate impacts, existing weather risks and individual management practices. Public–private cooperation is identified as an important means for making information more accessible and easily available.
    Urban Climate 07/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.uclim.2015.07.003 · 0.36 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "E-mail: particularly in low-income places with population concentrations in flood plains or coastal zones and limited public health infrastructure (Haines et al. 2006). Climate change and the anticipated increase in extreme weather events may exacerbate drowning as a public health concern. "
  • Source
    • "The most vulnerable groups are elderly, young children and people with cardiovascular diseases [2] [3]. But also amongst other citizens sleep, the ability to concentrate and work productivity are affected [4]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Green infrastructure can improve thermal comfort in outdoor urban spaces in moderate climates. The impact of green spaces on thermal comfort is often exclusively investigated through meteorological variables and human-biometeorological indices. Yet, studies on perceived thermal comfort are scarce. As thermal comfort is a property of human perception of the thermal environment, this knowledge is crucial for understanding the relationship between green spaces and thermal comfort. We investigated inhabitants' long-term perception of thermal comfort on warm summer days in three Dutch cities by means of questionnaires. Additionally, we examined the daytime cooling effect of green spaces in Utrecht, in order to find physical evidence to verify thermal comfort perception. To this end we used bicycles equipped with micrometeorological sensors. We compared thermal conditions of 13 parks with thermal conditions in the city centre and in the open grassland outside the city. And we analysed dependences between thermal conditions and spatial variables of parks (size, tree canopy, upwind vegetation cover). Our results demonstrate that green infrastructure improves generally perceived thermal comfort. People evaluated green urban spaces as the most thermally comfortable spaces which was in line with the physical thermal investigations. Physiological equivalent temperature (PET) in parks on average was 1.9 K lower than in the city centre and 5 K lower than in the surrounding grasslands during the hottest period of the day. Thermal variance between parks was significantly influenced by tree canopy cover (mean radiant temperature p ¼ 0.00005) and upwind vegetation cover (air temperature p ¼ 0.013), not significantly for park size.
    Building and Environment 12/2014; 83(83):120-128. DOI:10.1016/j.buildenv.2014.05.013 · 3.34 Impact Factor
Show more