Climate action could save massive health care costs

A study published in The Lancet Planetary Health has highlighted the health benefits of investing in low emissions technology would save governments around USD 54 trillion in health care costs by mid-century.

The study, by epidemiologist, Sir Andy Haines, Professor of the Department of Social and Environmental Health Research and Department of Population Health, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, concluded that investing in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions would be far cheaper than paying the health costs associated with polluted air, and would also result in millions fewer premature deaths.

According to the World Health Organization, 92% of people who live in cities do not breathe safe air, and 6.5 million people die each year due to poor ambient air quality.

The report also outlines basic climate policy options which would have an immediate and positive impact both on the health and economies of the world’s societies.

“Removing fossil fuel subsidies and implementing carbon taxes could, if properly designed, improve health, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, redistribute wealth, and stimulate employment,” say the authors of "Health co-benefits from air pollution and mitigation costs of the Paris Agreement: a modelling study”.

Professor Haines is a member of the Scientific Advisory Group of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition hosted by the UN Environment Programme.

The full study, Health co-benefits of climate action, is available here.

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