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Heat AdvisoryProtecting Health on a Warming Planet$
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Alan H. Lockwood, M.D.

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780262034876

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262034876.001.0001

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Economic Considerations of Climate Change and Health

Economic Considerations of Climate Change and Health

(p.149) 9 Economic Considerations of Climate Change and Health
Heat Advisory

Alan H. Lockwood

The MIT Press

Economics govern the relationship between what could be done and what is actually done. A fundamental rule of public health posits that it is medically and economically desirable to prevent rather than to treat an illness. Heat leads to more deaths than any weather-related cause. In the July 2006 California heat wave there were over 16,000 excess emergency room visits and 1,100 hospitalizations. In Washington, there were 3.1 heat-related workman’s compensation claims per 100,000 full time employees. In India the economic burden of dengue is over one billion dollars per year. Puerto Rican data suggest it is the most important and costliest vector-borne disease. Property loss and burdens associated with the production of climate change refugees add to the cost of rising sea level. It’s no surprise that careful studies in the US show that those with the highest social vulnerability will be the most seriously affected. Agriculture will suffer: the 2012 megadrought cost around $30 billion. Economists estimate that heat-related increases in crime will cost each US citizens between $20 and $30 per year by the end of the century.

Keywords:   Drought, Socioeconomic factors, Economics, Dengue, Malaria, Agriculture

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