Science & Tech

Study shows escalating climate change impacts

2 min read

The Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School, along with co-sponsors Swiss Re and the United Nations Development Programme, has released a study showing that climate change will significantly affect the health of humans and ecosystems and these impacts will have economic consequences.

The study, “Climate Change Futures: Health, Ecological and Economic Dimensions” (CCF), surveys existing and future costs associated with climate change and the growing potential for abrupt, widespread impacts. The study reports that the insurance industry will be at the center of this issue, absorbing risk and helping society and business to adapt and reduce new risks.

“We found that impacts of climate change are likely to lead to ramifications that overlap in several areas including our health, our economy and the natural systems on which we depend,” said Paul Epstein, the study’s lead author and associate director of the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School.

“A comparable event would be the aftermath of flooding, contamination and homelessness witnessed after Hurricane Katrina hit the U.S. Gulf Coast in August,” he said. “Analysis of the potential ripple effects stemming from an unstable climate shows the need for more sustainable practices to safeguard and insure a healthy future.”

The CCF study is comprised of three primary elements: trends, case studies and scenarios, which detail and analyze current climate-change-related consequences for human health, ecological systems and the global economy. Through two potential scenarios, the CCF report examines possible impacts of climate change that may impose severe strains on the financial sector.