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Health Co-benefits

Despite climate change being recognized as the greatest public health challenge in the 21st century, substantial knowledge gaps remain regarding climate change’s potential future health impacts under alternative mitigation and adaptation scenarios. A critical gap in the scientific understanding of these complex impacts is due to a combination of data limitations and discipline barriers. By leveraging sophisticated climate, air pollution, and epidemiological modeling, we examined future heat-induced myocardial infarction and mortality risk under and beyond the Paris Agreement goals (1.5 °C and 2 °C) and future ozone-related mortality under both climate and population changes. Collectively, the results of our work demonstrated the amplifying role of population aging in the projected mortality burden of temperature and air pollution under a warming climate. Our ongoing and future work will examine the effects of mitigation and adaptation policies on reducing disparities in climate-related exposures and their adverse health effects, especially adaptation strategies to extreme heat.

This study shows that the combined effect of global warming and population aging results in an increase in both the heat- and the cold-related deaths in Bavaria, Germany by the end of the 21st century, where the population-effect dominates the climate-effect.

Rai et al. Environmental Research Letters, 2019.

Our analysis shows increased future ozone-related acute excess mortality under the high global warming and emission scenario for an aging population in China.

Chen et al. PloS Medicine, 2018.