Population health impacts of China's climate change policies.

Affiliation

University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland, 1142, New Zealand. Electronic address: [Email]

Abstract

Rapid and wide-ranging reductions in greenhouse gas emissions are required to meet the climate targets agreed upon at the 2015 Paris climate conference. There will be significant transition risks for health, livelihoods, and ecosystems associated with large-scale mitigation, but also opportunities. The aim of this study was to investigate the impacts, positive and negative, of climate policies on population health in China. We review the Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) that China took to the Paris meeting, link commitments in the INDC to national planning documents relevant to environment and health, and search the literature for Chinese publications on health trade-offs and synergies. Synergies are evident in the measures taken to reduce local air pollution in China: controls on coal burning have materially improved local air quality and benefited health. But there may be risks to health also, depending on how policies are implemented and what safeguards are provided. To date most assessments of the health impacts of climate policies in China have been modelling studies. We recommend work of this kind is complemented by observational research to identify unexpected impacts and vulnerabilities. It will become even more important to undertake this work as emission reductions accelerate to meet the Paris climate targets.

Keywords

Climate change,Co-benefits,Health,Policy,