Globally, the costs of implementing the Paris Climate Agreement between 2020-2050 could be outweighed by health savings due to reduced air pollution-related disease and death…

The modelling study was published in The Lancet Planetary Health journal on 2 March 2018.

Preventing above 2°C increase

195 countries are currently signed up to the Paris Climate Agreement, which is due to commence in 2020. It aims to reduce the impacts of climate change by preventing the global average temperature from increasing to 2°C above pre-industrial levels, with a view to further limit this to less than 1,5°C. However, how these targets will be achieved and funded by all countries has not yet been agreed.

Climate change mitigation, healthcare benefits

In the study, the authors combined a number of existing models to estimate emission levels, air pollution-related deaths (as a result of respiratory disease, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, stroke, lung cancer, and acute lower respiratory airway infections) and their costs, costs of climate change mitigation, and healthcare co-benefits for the US, EU-27, China, India, and the rest of the world.

“We hope that the large health co-benefits we have estimated for different scenarios and countries might help policymakers move towards adopting more ambitious climate policies and measures to reduce air pollution, and to consider how to share the burden of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution-related disease,” says Professor Anil Markandya, Basque Centre for Climate Change, Spain.

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Writing in a linked Comment, Professor Philip Landrigan, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, USA, says: “The key contribution of this report is that it makes visible the very large, previously hidden health and economic benefits of climate mitigation and shows that these benefits are greater than the costs of climate change prevention.

Political and economic arguments against climate mitigation and pollution control are typically based on short-sighted, one-sided, and self-serving calculations that consider only the tangible, concrete, and relatively easily counted costs of controlling emissions.

This report’s carefully crafted conclusion that the health and economic benefits of climate mitigation significantly outweigh its costs provides a powerful rebuttal to those arguments,” concludes Professor Landrigan.

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While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.