Health and Climate Change: Accounting for Costs

Climate change endangers human health, and costs us money in both lost and interrupted lives and increased health care. In a study published in the journal Health Affairs, a team of scientists from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) partnered with university economists to investigate the health costs of six climate change-related events, and found the estimated costs totaled more than $14 billion (in 2008 U.S. dollars). The study team selected six types of events that will worsen with climate change in ways likely to harm human health -- ozone smog pollution, heat waves, hurricanes, mosquito-borne infectious disease, river flooding, and wildfires. The health effects and related costs of these events offer an indication of the threats we will increasingly face under a warming climate.