Health Risks and Costs of Climate Variability and Change

Authors: Kristie Ebi, Jeremey Hess, Paul Watkiss


This chapter predicts that changes in weather patterns and climatic shifts will create conditions favorable to the incidence of infectious diseases, undernutrition, allergen increase, and raised trends in morbidity and mortality from extreme weather events. Understanding the magnitude and pattern of impacts and the factors that increase or decrease susceptibility and coping abilities is vital to modifying current policies and to implementing new policies and programs to increase resilience to climate change. National programs need to build climate-resilient systems capable of anticipating, responding to, coping with, recovering from, and adapting to climate-related shocks. Among the costs of dealing with altered weather patterns, health sector costs include damage to health care facilities as well as the cost of diagnosis and treatment for adverse health outcomes. Productivity losses are also projected for parts of Europe, Africa, and Asia, while OECD countries are likely to experience increased morbidity and mortality from heat extremes. Climate change underscores the urgency of strengthening basic public health infrastructure, particularly in poor and underserved areas.


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