J18.3 Estimating the Health-Related Costs of Ten Climate-Sensitive U.S. Events during 2012

Tuesday, 14 January 2020: 11:00 AM
153B (Boston Convention and Exhibition Center)
Vijay Limaye, New York, NY; and W. Max, J. Constible, and K. Knowlton

Handout (979.3 kB)

Climate change threatens human health, but there remains a lack of evidence on the economic toll of climate-sensitive public health impacts. We characterize human mortality and morbidity costs associated with ten climate-sensitive case study events spanning eleven US states in 2012: wildfires in Colorado and Washington, ozone air pollution in Nevada, heat stress in Wisconsin, infectious disease outbreaks of tick-borne Lyme disease in Michigan and mosquito-borne West Nile virus in Texas, extreme weather in Ohio, impacts of Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey and New York, allergenic oak pollen in North Carolina, and harmful algal blooms on the Florida coast. Applying a consistent economic valuation approach to published studies and state estimates, we estimate total health-related costs from 917 deaths, 20,568 hospitalizations and 17,857 emergency department visits of $10.0 billion in 2018 dollars, with a sensitivity range of $2.7-24.6 billion. Our estimates indicate that the financial burden of deaths, hospitalizations, emergency department visits, and associated medical care is a key dimension of the overall economic impact of climate-sensitive events. By better characterizing health damages in economic terms, this work helps to shed light on the burden climate-sensitive events already place on US public health each year. In doing so, we provide a flexible framework for broader estimation of climate-sensitive health-related costs. The high health-related costs associated with climate-sensitive events highlight the importance of complementary actions to mitigate climate change and adapt to its unavoidable impacts.

Supplementary URL: https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1029/2019GH000202

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