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Commonalities between Disaster and Climate Change Risks for Health: A Theoretical Framework

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      Abstract

      Disasters and climate change have significant implications for human health worldwide. Both climate change and the climate-sensitive hazards that result in disasters, are discussed in terms of direct and indirect impacts on health. A growing body of literature has argued for the need to link disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation. However, there is limited articulation of the commonalities between these health impacts. Understanding the shared risk pathways is an important starting point for developing joint strategies for adapting to, and reducing, health risks. Therefore, this article discusses the common aspects of direct and indirect health risks of climate change and climate-sensitive disasters. Based on this discussion a theoretical framework is presented for understanding these commonalities. As such, this article hopes to extend the current health impact frameworks and provide a platform for further research exploring opportunities for linked adaptation and risk reduction strategies.

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        Climate change and human health: present and future risks.

        There is near unanimous scientific consensus that greenhouse gas emissions generated by human activity will change Earth's climate. The recent (globally averaged) warming by 0.5 degrees C is partly attributable to such anthropogenic emissions. Climate change will affect human health in many ways-mostly adversely. Here, we summarise the epidemiological evidence of how climate variations and trends affect various health outcomes. We assess the little evidence there is that recent global warming has already affected some health outcomes. We review the published estimates of future health effects of climate change over coming decades. Research so far has mostly focused on thermal stress, extreme weather events, and infectious diseases, with some attention to estimates of future regional food yields and hunger prevalence. An emerging broader approach addresses a wider spectrum of health risks due to the social, demographic, and economic disruptions of climate change. Evidence and anticipation of adverse health effects will strengthen the case for pre-emptive policies, and will also guide priorities for planned adaptive strategies.
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          Heat stress and public health: a critical review.

          Heat is an environmental and occupational hazard. The prevention of deaths in the community caused by extreme high temperatures (heat waves) is now an issue of public health concern. The risk of heat-related mortality increases with natural aging, but persons with particular social and/or physical vulnerability are also at risk. Important differences in vulnerability exist between populations, depending on climate, culture, infrastructure (housing), and other factors. Public health measures include health promotion and heat wave warning systems, but the effectiveness of acute measures in response to heat waves has not yet been formally evaluated. Climate change will increase the frequency and the intensity of heat waves, and a range of measures, including improvements to housing, management of chronic diseases, and institutional care of the elderly and the vulnerable, will need to be developed to reduce health impacts.
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            [1 ]Centre for Environment and Population Health, School of Environment, Griffith University, Brisbane 4111, Australia; s.rutherford@ 123456griffith.edu.au
            [2 ]Griffith Climate Change Response Program, Griffith University, Gold Coast City 4222, Australia; b.mackey@ 123456griffith.edu.au
            [3 ]UK Climate Impacts Programme, Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 3QY, UK; roger.street@ 123456ukcip.org.uk
            [4 ]Centre for Environment and Population Health, School of Medicine, Griffith University, Brisbane 4111, Australia; c.chu@ 123456griffith.edu.au
            Author notes
            [* ]Correspondence: nicola.banwell@ 123456griffithuni.edu.au ; Tel.: +61-422-370-242
            Journal
            Int J Environ Res Public Health
            Int J Environ Res Public Health
            ijerph
            International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
            MDPI
            1661-7827
            1660-4601
            16 March 2018
            March 2018
            : 15
            : 3
            29547592
            5877083
            10.3390/ijerph15030538
            ijerph-15-00538
            © 2018 by the authors.

            Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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