Assessment of the Likely Financial Costs Necessary for Health Protection for Climate Change
Improved economic assessments of the costs associated with the health impacts of climate change can help support investment in health adaptation programmes, and support mitigation policies that enhance health. The few relevant studies suggest that unmitigated climate change, in the coming several decades, will significantly increase financial costs to health services, for example through increased demands for prevention and treatment of diarrhoea, malaria and malnutrition. Similarly, economic evaluations of mitigation policies suggest that these could bring major health co-benefits, covering much of the cost of the initial investment. While critically important, this field is in its infancy. There is a need for much greater standardization of methods, particularly on how best to represent uncertainty, the relative value of future benefits (e.g. discounting), and the achievement of equity. These methods should be applied to assess the health costs of inaction on climate change, the costs and benefits of investing in health adaptation, at the global, regional or local level, as well as of mitigation actions impacting on health. A wider range of health impact pathways than those considered so far should be taken into account.
Markandya, A. and Chiabai, A. (2008) Assessment of the Likely Financial Costs Necessary for Health Protection for Climate Change. Technical Report for WHO Global consultation on ‘Guiding Research to improve health protection from climate change’. World Health Organization, Geneva.