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Open Access Research

Adaptation costs for climate change-related cases of diarrhoeal disease, malnutrition, and malaria in 2030

Kristie L Ebi

Author Affiliations

ESS, LLC, Alexandria, VA 22304, USA

Globalization and Health 2008, 4:9  doi:10.1186/1744-8603-4-9

Published: 19 September 2008

Abstract

Background

Climate change has begun to negatively affect human health, with larger burdens projected in the future as weather patterns continue to change. The climate change-related health consequences of diarrhoeal diseases, malnutrition, and malaria are projected to pose the largest risks to future populations. Limited work has been done to estimate the costs of adapting to these additional health burdens.

Methods

The costs of treating diarrhoeal diseases, malnutrition (stunting and wasting only), and malaria in 2030 were estimated under three climate scenarios using (1) the current numbers of cases; (2) the projected relative risks of these diseases in 2030; and (3) current treatment costs. The analysis assumed that the number of annual cases and costs of treatment would remain constant. There was limited consideration of socioeconomic development.

Results

Under a scenario assuming emissions reductions resulting in stabilization at 750 ppm CO2 equivalent in 2210, the costs of treating diarrhoeal diseases, malnutrition, and malaria in 2030 were estimated to be $4 to 12 billion. This is almost as much as current total annual overseas development assistance for health.

Conclusion

The investment needs in the health sector to address climate-sensitive health outcomes are large. Additional human and financial resources will be needed to prevent and control the projected increased burden of health outcomes due to climate change.