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Health Aff (Millwood). 2011 Nov;30(11):2167-76. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2011.0229.

Six climate change-related events in the United States accounted for about $14 billion in lost lives and health costs.

Author information

1
Health and Environment Program, Natural Resources Defense Council, New York City, NY, USA. kknowlton@nrdc.org

Abstract

The future health costs associated with predicted climate change-related events such as hurricanes, heat waves, and floods are projected to be enormous. This article estimates the health costs associated with six climate change-related events that struck the United States between 2000 and 2009. The six case studies came from categories of climate change-related events projected to worsen with continued global warming-ozone pollution, heat waves, hurricanes, infectious disease outbreaks, river flooding, and wildfires. We estimate that the health costs exceeded $14 billion, with 95 percent due to the value of lives lost prematurely. Actual health care costs were an estimated $740 million. This reflects more than 760,000 encounters with the health care system. Our analysis provides scientists and policy makers with a methodology to use in estimating future health costs related to climate change and highlights the growing need for public health preparedness.

PMID:
22068410
DOI:
10.1377/hlthaff.2011.0229
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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