Nobel laureate William Nordhaus claimed that climate change is “the ultimate challenge for economics.” One could say that climate change poses a serious challenge for the health economist as well. The impact of climate change on our health could be in many dimensions, including:
- Inhalation problems can be exacerbated by increased pollution
- Deaths are increasing due to natural disasters like hurricanes and wildfires.
- Some pathogens might be more easily spread in warmer climates
- As fresh water supplies dry up, access to clean drinking water can be difficult.
- Increased anxiety about climate change may lead to mental health issues
Many people don’t realize that the health sector is one the main causes and beneficiaries of rising air pollution. De Preux and Rizmie (2018) write:
25% of all carbon dioxide emissions from the UK public sector are attributed to the healthcare sector. Ironically, it is actually the healthcare sector.
itself that is primarily affected by any deterioration in the environment affecting individuals’ health and their demand for healthcare. The healthcare sector is directly benefited by its own efforts towards…