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Granter S.R.,Harvard University | Bernstein A.,Center for Health and the Global Environment | Ostfeld R.S.,Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies
Perspectives in Biology and Medicine | Year: 2014

The current rapid rate of species extinction and loss of biodiversity occurring throughout the world has the potential to exact far-reaching adverse impacts on human health in many ways, including increasing the risk of infectious disease transmission. Here, we use Lyme disease as a model to illustrate how loss of biodiversity in the community of vertebrates may lead to increased transmission of zoonotic pathogens in humans. We also illustrate how preserving biodiversity has the potential to reduce the prevalence of human infectious disease more generally. © 2014 by Johns Hopkins University Press.

Driscoll C.T.,Syracuse University | Buonocore J.J.,Center for Health and the Global Environment | Levy J.I.,Boston University | Lambert K.F.,Harvard University | And 3 more authors.
Nature Climate Change | Year: 2015

Carbon dioxide emissions standards for US power plants will influence the fuels and technologies used to generate electricity, alter emissions of pollutants such as sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide, and influence ambient air quality and public health. We present an analysis of how three alternative scenarios for US power plant carbon standards could change fine particulate matter and ozone concentrations in ambient air, and the resulting public health co-benefits. The results underscore that carbon standards to curb global climate change can also provide immediate local and regional health co-benefits, but the magnitude depends on the design of the standards. A stringent but flexible policy that counts demand-side energy efficiency towards compliance yields the greatest health benefits of the three scenarios analysed. © 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited.

Buonocore J.J.,Center for Health and the Global Environment | Lambert K.F.,Harvard University | Burtraw D.,Resources for the Future | Sekar S.,Resources for the Future | And 2 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2016

Reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from power plants can have important "co-benefits" for public health by reducing emissions of air pollutants. Here, we examine the costs and health co-benefits, in monetary terms, for a policy that resembles the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan. We then examine the spatial distribution of the co-benefits and costs, and the implications of a range of cost assumptions in the implementation year of 2020. Nationwide, the total health co-benefits were $29 billion 2010 USD (95% CI: $2.3 to $68 billion), and net co-benefits under our central cost case were $12 billion (95% CI: -$15 billion to $51 billion). Net co-benefits for this case in the implementation year were positive in 10 of the 14 regions studied. The results for our central case suggest that all but one region should experience positive net benefits within 5 years after implementation. © 2016 Buonocore et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Ebi K.L.,University of Washington | Ebi K.L.,Center for Health and the Global Environment | Bowen K.,Australian National University | Bowen K.,University of Melbourne
Weather and Climate Extremes | Year: 2016

The health risks of climate change arise from the interactions of the hazards associated with a changing climate (e.g. increases in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather and climate events, such as drought), the communities exposed to those hazards, the susceptibility of communities to adverse health impacts when exposed, and the capacity to prepare for and cope with the hazard. However, there is a very limited understanding of how extreme weather and climate events could themselves be sources of vulnerability. Drought is used as an example of an extreme event that can simultaneously be a current hazard and can directly and indirectly influence future vulnerability. A better understanding of droughts and other extreme events as sources of vulnerability is needed, including (i) the patterns of risks and how these could change over time, (ii) the reasons for any changes, (iii) how these risks could affect human health and well-being, and (iv) the longer-term consequences of extreme events for vulnerability. This knowledge will become increasingly important for managing risks to health as the frequency and intensity of extreme weather and climate events increase with climate change. © 2015 The Authors.

Bernstein A.S.,Center for Health and the Global Environment | Rice M.B.,Massachusetts General Hospital
Chest | Year: 2013

Climate change is a health threat no less consequential than cigarette smoking. Increased concentrations of greenhouse gases, and especially CO 2, in the earth's atmosphere have already warmed the planet substantially, causing more severe and prolonged heat waves, temperature variability, air pollution, forest fires, droughts, and floods, all of which put respiratory health at risk. These changes in climate and air quality substantially increase respiratory morbidity and mortality for patients with common chronic lung diseases such as asthma and COPD and other serious lung diseases. Physicians have a vital role in addressing climate change, just as they did with tobacco, by communicating how climate change is a serious, but remediable, hazard to their patients. © 2013 American College of Chest Physicians.

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