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: 1.43). 08/2006; 120(7):585-96. DOI: 10.1016/j.puhe.2006.01.002
Source: PubMed


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.

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    • "Renewable energy technologies (RETs) have well established benefits including: i) improving environmental sustainability [1] [2] [3], ii) improving public health [4] [5] [6], iii) creating jobs [6] [7] [8] [9] and iv) financial benefits [10] [11] [12]. For example, the average price of completed solar photovoltaic (PV) systems have dropped 33% since 2011 [13], and the cost of electricity generated from wind also dropped more than 43% in the past four years [14]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Anthropogenic global climate change has large and mounting negative economic impacts. Companies and nations responsible for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are thus acquiring considerable potential liabilities. If litigation becomes widespread, renewable energy technologies (RETs) potentially offer emitters reduced liability for climate change. This benefit has been ignored because of the lack of knowledge of potential liabilities. To overcome this information deficit, this paper reviews recent literature on the potential for climate change litigation and methods to quantify liability for climate change. Next, the top 10 emitters in the U.S. are identified and their potential liability is quantified using standard GHG emission costs. Potential liabilities are explored in depth with a single case study company comparing the results of the fractional liability from only natural disasters within the U.S. for a single year to a sensitivity of the future costs of carbon emissions from other sources of emission-related liability. Then classes of potential climate change litigants are identified and their capacity to bring such lawsuits is evaluated. The results show that the net income available to shareholders of large companies could see a significant reduction from the emissions liability related to only natural disasters in the U.S. from a single coal-fired power plant. Finally, a rough estimate of the economic risk associated with future scenarios and existing organized international potential litigants is quantified. The results show that potential liability for climate change for the Alliance of Small Island States is over $570 trillion. It is concluded that as emitters begin to be held liable for damages resulting from GHG emissions resulting in climate change, a high value for liability mitigation would provide additional powerful incentives for deployment of renewable energy technologies.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2016 · Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
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    • "The known direct effects of climate change include changes in the abundance and distribution of exploited species and assemblages (Perry et al. 2005; Lehodey et al. 2006; Dulvy et al. 2008) and increases in the frequency and severity of extreme events, such as floods and storms, which affect fishing operations and infrastructure (Adger et al. 2005). Indirect effects include: (1) changes in aquatic habitat quantity and quality, ecosystem productivity and the distribution and abundance of aquatic competitors and predators (O'Reilly et al. 2003; Edwards and Richardson 2004; Hall-Spencer et al. 2008); (2) impacts on other food production sectors that affect people's livelihoods and food security (Rosegrant and Cline 2003); and (3) impacts on aspects of people's lives unrelated to their economic activities, such as diseases or damage to their homes (Kovats et al. 2003; Lafferty et al. 2004; Haines et al. 2006). Fishing is a very old human profession, and still today, millions of people are dependent on fisheries for their livelihood across the globe. "
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    ABSTRACT: The anadromous fish species Hilsa (Tenualosa ilisha) constitutes the largest single fishery in Bangladesh and West Bengal, India. River Meghna is the important habitat for Hilsa as the major breeding and nursing grounds are situated along this portion of the river. In this paper, we investigate fishers’ perceptions on effect of climate change and anthropogenic impact on Hilsa fishery at lower Meghna. Fishers’ ecological knowledge indicates that the stock of Hilsa is declining due to several adverse climatic conditions such as increased water temperature, salinity intrusion and low freshwater discharge from upstream. Fishers believe that dams and polders have immense effect on river sedimentation which already blockade several upward migratory route of Hilsa. Fishers’ experience shows that intensity of coastal cyclone is gradually increasing, which causes severe physical and economical damage. The study also indicates that the major constraints to adopt with the change situation are low level of human capital and restricted access to the formal credit system. Therefore, incorporation of local knowledge in governmental policy formulation and public support to improve human skill are essential for the adaptive management.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2015 · Environment Development and Sustainability
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    • "The inclusive climate change effect on health is probably going to be harmful, and populations in poor countries are expected to be mostly susceptible to the negative effects. The study suggests that easing of climate change by decreasing the consumption of fossil fuels and increasing the adoption of the renewable energy technologies is supposed to improve health shortly by diminishing air pollution (Haines et al. 2006). It is evident that nitrous oxide (from meadow land and arable land usage to grow feed crops) and methane (from the digestive activities of ruminant animals like cows and sheep) account for almost 80 % of overall agricultural GHG emissions . "
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    ABSTRACT: The objective of the study is to examine the impact of environmental indicators and air pollution on “health” and “wealth” for the low-income countries. The study used a number of promising variables including arable land, fossil fuel energy consumption, population density, and carbon dioxide emissions that simultaneously affect the health (i.e., health expenditures per capita) and wealth (i.e., GDP per capita) of the low-income countries. The general representation for low income countries has shown by aggregate data that consist of 39 observations from the period of 1975–2013. The study decomposes the data set from different econometric tests for managing robust inferences. The study uses temporal forecasting for the health and wealth model by a vector error correction model (VECM) and an innovation accounting technique. The results show that environment and air pollution is the menace for low-income countries’ health and wealth. Among environmental indicators, arable land has the largest variance to affect health and wealth for the next 10-year period, while air pollution exerts the least contribution to change health and wealth of low-income countries. These results indicate the prevalence of war situation, where environment and air pollution become visible like “gun” and “bullet” for low-income countries. There are required sound and effective macroeconomic policies to combat with the environmental evils that affect the health and wealth of the low-income countries.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2015 · Environmental Science and Pollution Research
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