WHO launches new tool to estimate health costs of climate change

Earth Negotiation Bulletin

Tool to estimate health costs of climate change launched at UNFCCC meeting in Bonn on 6 June 2013

WHO/Europe developed a new tool to help Member States estimate the costs associated with damage to health due to climate change, and those of adaptation in various sectors to protect health. WHO launched the tool at a side-event at the climate change conference in Bonn, Germany on Thursday, 6 June 2013, in which it hosted a panel discussion of these costs.

Member States, citizens or advocacy groups can use the tool to make basic estimates of the economic costs of the health effects of climate change, and the costs and benefits of adaptation measures to minimize these effects. In particular, it can help strengthen the case for health adaptation in settings where climate change adaptation measures are just beginning.

Economic costs of measures for adaptation to climate change

The secretariat for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has estimated that US$ 73 billion per year will be needed for adaptation measures by 2030, including US$ 5 billion spent directly by the health sector and over US$ 25 billion by sectors influencing public health, such as water supply and sanitation. Unfortunately, only a few examples exist of the estimated cost of health-sector adaptation in countries’ adaptation plans.

The climate change conference (the thirty-eighth session of two UNFCCC subsidiary bodies and part of the second session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action) is taking place on 3–14 June 2013.