Posting in Energy
Health costs associated with climate change are: $14 billion dollars, 21,000 emergency room visits, 1,700 deaths, and 9,000 hospitalizations. In the first study to look at the health care costs of climate change, Columbia researchers make a case for more preparation to respond to climate change.
When a hurricane or other severe weather event hits, damage is measured in property damage or insurance costs. But who is tallying up the health care costs due to climate change?
This week, scientists said health care costs associated with climate change disasters is $14 billion.
"Right now, there's a gaping hole in our understanding of the health-related costs of climate change. This report begins the work to fill that void. Only by having a clear sense of health impacts and their costs, can we work to reduce them," Columbia's Kim Knowlton said in a statement.
Within the last 10 years, the six disasters that the study looked at were:
- Florida hurricanes, $1.4 billion
- California heat waves and wild fire, $578 million
- North Dakota floods, $20 million
- ozone air pollution, $6.5 billion
- West Nile virus outbreaks in Louisiana, $207 million
So what's the damage? Well, nearly 1,700 premature deaths, 9,000 hospitalizations, and 21,000 emergency room visits, and 730,000 outpatient visits, according to a release.
The study was published in Health Affairs, which included the cost of human suffering and the loss of life from the six disasters mentioned above.
The LA Times reports:
Most of those costs -- 95% -- were attributable to the value of lost lives, they wrote. About $740 million originated in "760,000 encounters with the health care system."
Climate change health problems could get worse before it gets any better. According to an International Energy Agency report, unless there's a policy change soon, climate change may be irreversible.
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Nov 10, 2011
The US currently spends about $2 trillion per year on health costs. So a $14 billion over ten years cost is nothing. There is the issue of lost lives, but attributing, for example, all hurricane deaths to global warming is ridiculous. We've had recorded hurricanes deaths in America since Florida was first settled in the 16th century.
Like many lakes out west, the lake has been drawn down as water that used to flow into it from rivers and streams has been diverted for human use. Climate change has nothing to do with it. Bad planning did it. Look at what LA did to Mono Lake in California.
Boonsri, Do keep up. You are surely by now an experienced enough journalist to know that this kind of silly climate change scare story just won't wash any more. The public has woken up to the trick of casually blaming natural disaster insurance losses on climate change, as expressed in your report. Where is the evidence that any of the natural disasters listed - hurricanes, heat waves, floods, ozone pollution(!), West Nile virus - is related in any way to climate change? There is none. But what about evidence that local conditions have changed (e.g. increased building in flood risk areas)? There is plenty. To compound the above errors, there is no convincing evidence that the climate is warming dangerously anyway. The world temperature rise over the past 160 years has averaged out at a decidedly unalarming 0.4degC per century. See for yourself the blue trend line at: http://www.thetruthaboutclimatechange.org/tempsworld.html Furthermore there is no genuine scientific evidence that even that paltry 0.4degC temperature rise is anything other than due to natural climate variability. If there is a small human CO2 contribution it is undetectable, 'lost in the noise'. Sounds like those researchers were on yet another climate change research grant bandwagon. And sadly you were taken in by it.
How about all of the health disasters that no longer occur because of climate change? For example, in the US alone, thousands of people are injured or die each and every winter due to blizzards, snow, ice and just plain coldness. Are those costs subtracted by these people?